Opinion & Letters

Views expressed in Opinion & Editorial do not necessarily reflect the views of IECN

Colton city council makes right decision in suspending fees for field use

By Anthony Victoria

The Colton City Council didn’t crack a home run Tuesday evening, but made a well-timed hit to keep the residents from losing. That is to say, especially, for those who utilize city athletic fields, you’re still in the game.

For the few of us who stuck around, we were able to witness the last item that came up for consideration: possible suspension of fees for use of city athletic fields for youth sports organizations. This, of course is a huge deal, considering the many number of baseball teams who participate in the Ken Hubbs Little League and others who play the summer-long sport.

Initially, the council was not set to vote on the matter but instead considered sending the item to committee for further study. It was only when Gary Grossich went up to speak that the issue took a humanistic tone. Gary implored that the council look at the issue from a practical matter—one where citizens struggle to pay additional fees and taxes on top of the already cumbersome amount of finances spent on daily living, not to mention utilities and property taxes. Gary argued that fellow citizens shouldn’t have to essentially pay for something they already own.

Council members Deidre Bennett and Isaac Suchil motioned and seconded that the issue to suspend fees come up for a vote. But then another consideration came up: the idea that leagues should be held responsible for some form of payment—the suggested amount from City Recreation Manager Deb Farrar was $1 per hour of facility use. And if the suspension of fees were approved, what would the city do with the fees that had already been paid?

Additionally council member Summer Zamora-Jorrin mentioned she was concerned that citizens were not given a deadline to pay fees. She would wholeheartedly favor a motion to suspend, she said; nevertheless, it wouldn’t be fair for those that paid their fees in full. Without a deadline, essentially some leagues could have as much time as they wanted to pay.

Mayor Richard DeLaRosa reiterated that it was important to have a fee in place but it was imperative that those utilizing the facilities have a say in how their money is being spent. “They are the ones who are there every day and know if something is wrong with the snack bar or other issue,” the mayor said. DeLaRosa also went further by saying it would only be fair to refund the fees already paid until an agreement could be put into place.

Bennett re-introduced the motion and with Suchil’s second, it passed unanimously.

The mayor and council did the right thing.

It is only right for residents to help be financially responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of such precious city facilities. The $1 per hour fee could be a good start. However, if a team uses the fields for 3,000-plus hours during its season—one can see that the costs add up quickly. As is the policy, the city must continue to hold non-residents to paying a larger fee—whatever the final amount is that is approved. And yes, deadlines must be set into place for payment.

The question is how much? Certainly when this item comes up for discussion residents must be present to make their case. It is true that no facilities can run for free. Water, electricity, trash collection, raking of fields, concessions, grass cutting and labor come at exorbitant costs. The city cannot go at it alone to cover this.

It is good that for now though, a little pressure is taken off the wallet and our kids can go out and do what many previously have done in countless summers past: just play ball.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at victoriaanthony91@gmail.com or at (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Contractors Training Academy

I would like to announce the Contractors Training Academy to any San Bernardino or Riverside County Contractors interested in doing business with SBCCD who may need assistance with getting certification as WMBE/VOBE and bidding on Public Works Projects. Classes are Tuesday evenings for 10 weeks and begin on April 28, 2015, they are located at Crafton Hills College. If you are interested go to http://bit.ly/1j17aco to register.

Angela Brinker,

District Initiatives Coordinator Kitchell/BRJ

We don’t need an Internet-cable monopoly

I am controlled by Verizon. I live in Alta Loma and I can’t get any Internet service but Verizon DSL. It is so slow I cannot open my email without waiting over five minutes. I am writing this because I am already being controlled by a big company and hate it. So if Time Warner Cable and Comcast want to merge, why not? Wake up, people! We are being controlled by the big, corporate-owned utility companies already. Verizon owns the rights to my property and most of the entire city. I can’t use a different provider — Verizon has all the rights, and they won’t even add FIOS to my area. I live by Archibald Avenue and Baseline Road — big city streets, but Verizon won’t put in FIOS or allow our area to use another Internet service provider. We live in a free society, right? When it comes to our utility services, phone lines, TV and Internet, we are not free. I’ve been fighting Verizon for over five months now to improve my Internet service — they try to satisfy me with a new modem. They know that the problem is probably in the wiring in the ground but they refuse to come out and correct it. This is how bad my service is: I only have one laptop; I have one smart phone; I have DirecTV and never use On Demand due to slow Internet TV! When I want to open my laptop or phone to check email or do a google search, it takes over five minutes to connect — if it connects at all. Usually I get a “no Internet service” message, which is incorrect because I have Internet service, but it’s so slow that my devices time out. I read your opinion page and editorials every day. Someone needs to do an article about how Verizon has the monopoly on Internet service.

Debbie Carver, Alta Loma

Merger threatens net neutrality

I can’t think of anything more scary than the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner. Some of us fought furiously to keep an open Internet by contacting the Federal Communications Commission. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was bullied in five sessions of congressional meetings by the party that is supported by the 1 percent. Such a power grab would form a monopoly and raise fees on consumers with no restraint. Then would come the Internet disruption which could only be remedied by high-speed lanes for more fees. A healthy competition would be negated because we would be at the mercy and whims of a giant conglomerate. Would I like to see the Dodgers because I’m entitled to since I have cable? Of course. But you know what is worse? Being blackmailed by greedy corporations with no care for their own customers. As the merger happens, net neutrality will slowly disappear and any grass roots movements will follow in its path. I pity my children and grandchildren for they will never know how true customer service is delivered.

Nancy Blastos, Redlands

 

Religious freedom act allows discrimination

The only real motivation behind the current crop of “religious freedom” legislation is an attempt to shelter those wishing wish to inject their private biases into the public sphere. Everyone has the right to their personal views, free speech, and choice of religious association. But public behavior should be the one place where we Americans demonstrate the vitality of a pluralistic society. It’s sad to realize there are still folks who find kinship with those that excluded people from lunch counters because they weren’t the “right” kind, and sadder still to see religion being dragged through the gutter by those using it to shield their lack of basic decency in relations with fellow humans.

Brian Bennett, La Verne

 

 

 

Music, Film and Fun: It’s festival time in the Inland Empire

 

By Yazmin Alvarez

It’s festival time!

Whether it be music, movies or a good ol’ down home fair, the Inland Empire has a festival that’s just up your alley.

Not sure what’s out there? Well, here’s a quick look at some artsy, not-so-hipster events happening over the next couple of weeks. And the best part about them—they all give back to a worthy cause.

Music:

Missed Coachella or just didn’t care for the rowdy crowds and music? No problem.

The third annual Rialto Drop In Jazz Festival is set from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., April 25 at Frisbie Park.

The event, presented by Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson and the City Council, is an all day R&B and jazz fest hosted by Tommy Davidson.

This year’s lineup includes everything from Eisenhower High School’s Jazz Band, Sounds of Sunrise featuring Nate Watts, Stanley Randolph and Lance Lucas, to the All Star Band featuring a “George Duke Tribute” lead by Byron Miller (Psycho Bass).

Headlining this year are Sheila E. and David Benoit.

Ticket prices vary and can be purchased at www.RialtoJazzFest.com.

Proceeds from the jazz festival will support the Rialto Youth Collaborative and its programs.

Film:

The third annual Lunafest in Redlands screens Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Esri Auditorium, 380 new York Avenue in Redlands.

Presented by the Zonta Club of Redlands and The American Association of University Women Redlands Branch for AAUW, the traveling film festival features eight short films by, for and about women. The films are centered around stories of reflection, hope and humor.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Breast Cancer Fund and educational scholarships for women and girls in the community.

The event begins with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at 6 p.m. with showtime at 7 p.m.

Watch the Lunafest trailer here: www.lunafest.org/redlands0417. Information: call 909-996-8107 or email, michelle.bitonti@gmail.com.

Fun:

The 100th annual National Orange Show Fair in San Bernardino runs April 22 through April 26.

Marking a milestone, this year’s event celebrates a century of citrus fun and includes a lineup of performances, entertainment and food. Carnival rides and a circus experience by Vanardos Circus and LA Circus are also planned this year. And highlighting traditions of the fair will be a variety of citrus displays, a quilting competition and show, and a baking contest. For ticket prices and more information, visit www.nosevents.com.

And while you’re out listening to some smooth jazz and dancing around, mingling with friends watching a flick or having fun at the fair don’t forget to snap some photos for a feature in iSeeIE!

Capture the moment and send it over to iseeie@iecn.com and tag @iecn on Instagram with #iSeeIE, #iecn. Yazmin Alvarez is a reporter with Inland Empire Community Newspapers and can be reached at iecn.yazmin@gmail.com.

Colton needs to put trash contract out to bid

Colton is not a rich community. We work hard for what we get, and when costs go up, it usually means giving up something else. In my own home, as a single mom raising two children, I watch every penny, so to learn that our trash rates are going up as much as 23 percent begs the question: Are our elected city leaders being as frugal as we are. To be fair, the higher rates weren’t their idea. Credit that to Republic Services, which has come up with some convoluted method to force residences to pay11 percent to 23 percent more. For businesses, rates would go up 14 percent to 20 percent. The proposed rates are included in Republic’s attempts to lock in an early extension of its contract. That’s where our Council has fallen short – by not putting the trash contract out to bid once it learned of Republic’s intentions. It can still do so, and I ask my fellow residents to urge them to do just that – put it out to bid, get the best price and show us that they’re looking out for our best interests. I did some research recently and found that if the Republic plan goes through, our trash rates will be 16 percent to 20 percent higher than those of Rancho Cucamonga – a city with a median household income nearly double that of Colton. In fact, our rates would be among the highest in San Bernardino County. What I also learned was how other trash haulers in other communities will often give back to those cities when seeking a contract extension. The fact that Republic won’t do this, and is clearly trying to squeeze every hard-earned penny out of us, speaks volumes of the kind of community partner they are – or aren’t. As offensive is Republic’s claim that it’s not a lot of money, suggesting that a few dollars here or there won’t hurt anyone. That’s an easy argument for a multimillion-dollar corporation. Have them manage a household on my budget, and see how “easy” that is. Please, council members, don’t go there. Put the trash contract out to bid, and let’s see if we can get a better deal.

Sandra Pedroza, Colton

Gender discrimination still a problem for working poor

So a San Francisco jury rejected Ellen Pao’s $16 million claim for damages because she was passed over for a promotion by her prestigious employer? Oh, poor baby! I find it impossible to sympathize with someone who enjoys extraordinary wealth but craves more. However, what I do find inexcusable concerning gender inequality in the workplace is the plight of poor women. For example, my mother (of blessed memory) worked throughout her life at menial jobs. And while she never rose above minimum wage, her male counterparts were routinely given a different title and paid more, despite performing the same work. She had no recourse because to complain would have brought retribution. So yes, ours is a great country, but we still have more to do before we can boast about gender equality in the workplace, especially for the working poor.

David Quintero, Monrovia

Start with infrastructure

We need a statewide water plan that would prevent a local water shortage from becoming a statewide crisis. The plan should include desalination plants but not be limited to them. Gov. Jerry Brown’s father had the right idea with the California Aqueduct. What is needed is an infrastructure that channels water from all its sources — desalination plants, snow runoff in season, water from rivers and streams when they are flowing — into reservoirs for storage and distribution to homes, businesses and farms. We will once again be paying more for using less water. Where will that money go? To increase the salaries of those who urge us to use less water, or to be used to build what is needed to solve the problem? And construction of a statewide water conservation and delivery system would create more jobs than building a bullet train. If there are concerns about the effects of desalination plants on marine life, we can consult with engineers and scientists in Israel or the United Arab Emirates, where desalination has been a fact of life for years. If Californians are expected to have dirt yards with desert plants — a California that looks like Arizona — then maybe we should just move to Arizona. Income and sales taxes are much lower and gasoline is a lot cheaper.

John M. Glenn, West Covina

Unions offer protection

I spent 35 years in the logistics industry. Because I worked in a union shop, all positions, whether it be mechanic, driver, warehouse, dispatcher or other service, were set by contract with the company. It didn’t matter what gender, race or stature you were. The pay rate and benefits for a particular position did not change. All that was required was to fill that position adequately. Many people bash unions. But my experience with regard to fairness was a positive one.

Thomas Wallis, Fontana

 

Make history when it really matters

R.A. Contreras

Many words get thrown around carelessly and hence tend to lose their real meaning. The word ‘friend’ is a good example. Now, perhaps, we can add another to that list: ‘historic’.

After Tuesday’s council meeting at San Bernardino City Hall, the word was getting thrown around as council members and other city officials gathered around for a photo op when signing a voted upon and approved document. The deed was an interim agreement that now gives the mayor, city manager, city attorney, and the city council reserved and checked powers as an alternative to those listed in the city’s beleaguered charter. Proponents say that this will help to ensure that the aforementioned city officials have better-defined roles in the quest towards an improved government. Councilwoman Virginia Marquez called it “historic” and fellow member John Valdivia walked out of the council meeting in protest before the 6-0 favoring vote could be cast saying that the process violated the Brown Act—California’s open meeting law.

Really, in a sense both could be right. This sort of agreement, I believe was acted upon in good faith—a move towards holding elected city officials accountable as they get to work on righting the town’s sinking ship. On the other hand, Valdivia has a valid point—especially so if the general public did not have an opportunity to have input in the process. The Brown Act requires posting of an agenda and for a public meeting to be convened legally—as in the usual process taken for a regular city council meeting. This did not happen. And yes, for a city to have the problems it does on the grand scale of a bankruptcy, it behooves San Bernardino to do everything in its power to act in the best interest of the public trust—with any indication of skirting the law to be avoided. Transparency is mandatory.

Nonetheless, the bigger problem I have is the banner-waving, fists-in-the-air attitude that some major accomplishment has taken place. Now, I must say that Marquez was one of the leading proponents to put in place a homeless access center at Seccombe Lake Park—and she took a lot of heat for it. I adamantly praise her for her efforts and hope sincerely that it puts a dent in the vexing issue. But what happened Tuesday night after a long, nearly-five-hour council meeting was hardly of historic proportions.

We elect our city officials on the premise that they will carry out the will of the people. But, if I had my druthers, I would prefer my city to gloat on improving more mundane conditions such as sweeping out the prostitution off Baseline, repairing the mess of pavement on Waterman, or installing lights on a darkened and dangerous Pacific. We citizens all want to be safe and prosperous. I take my hat off to our men and women in the police and fire department—as well as the countless other rank-and-file city employees for doing their utmost in this regard.

And as a lifelong citizen of a city that has seen much better days, I am sickened at the constant comparisons San Bernardino gets to Detroit—for both the unenviable qualities of bankruptcy and skyrocketing crime.

Until the city leaders as a whole work to the point where the former ‘All-American” city can have an actual solvency plan on the judge’s desk, get it actually approved, and a real, binding bankruptcy plan set in stone—yes be resolved of bankruptcy—will I only then agree that something truly historic has taken place.

R.A. Contreras is on Twitter @sbvalleywriter

Potholes: They’re Back and They’re Bad

Potholes have returned, and hitting one with your car can do a real number on tires, wheels, steering and suspension, and alignment. To help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged your vehicle, watch for these warning signs. · Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals and hub units and tie rod ends. · Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear, are symptoms of an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling. · Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the wheel rim will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible, as tires are the critical connection between your car and the road. If you’ve hit a pothole, it can be difficult to know if your vehicle has been damaged in the process, so have a professional technician check out the car and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability. April is National Car Care Month and the non-profit Car Care Council offers many free tools on its website to help you drive smart, save money and be car care aware, including the popular 80-page Car Care Guide and a custom service schedule and email reminder service.

Sincerely,

Rich White

Executive Director, Car Care Council, Bethesda, MD 20814

San Bernardino welcomes the Great Race 2015

It’s exciting that such a fun, well-known and positive event is coming to San Bernardino. Most everyone has heard of the “Great Race” as they have it every year in a different part of the country. Movies and documentaries have been made about it. This year, it will leave the St. Louis area and come out through Route 66. On June 27, they will have an overnight stay and what a great welcome San Bernardino has for the 110 Great Race cars. Besides the Great Race cars, we have planned: Street closures from E Street to Arrowhead Avenue, between Second and Fourth streets as well as Court and Third; A free classic car show for the first 1,000 of 1980 and older American cars and motorcycles, funny cars, nitro drag cars, wild choppers from the Vegas Biker Build-Off, TV and movie cars, 15 gourmet food trucks, vendors, professional chili cook-off, band, a veterans’ parade with restored World War II jeeps and vehicles, antique fire trucks, the 1899 Locomobile, which is the first known car in San Bernardino, professional singers, stagecoach rides, magazine, newspaper and TV coverage, and more. What a fantastic event to bring downtown San Bernardino back to life. We have worked hard to make this the best event to welcome these nostalgic cars and a good time for the residents. We cannot be kept down and we want San Bernardino to win the award for the best city sponsorship and welcoming across their journey. And we will.

Steve Portias, San Bernardino

To save water, we must ban fracking, slow growth

Californians can conserve water. They can remove their lawns and favor rock gardens and drought-resistant plants. They can tell their waitresses to hold the water and can sleep two nights on the same sheets when they go to a motel. They can do all the things recommended to save water, but it will all be pointless if we don’t stop two things: the exponential growing of more nut farms and fracking spent oil wells for the methane gas that is produced. The nut industry is the darling of Wall Street now, and demand for new investments is sky high. Thus, enterprising souls are buying up semi-arid lands and drilling water wells in the Central Valley. This is unsustainable and insane in a state that is in a 20-year megadrought. Fracking is even more insane when each spent oil well takes 2 million to 8 billion gallons of water to frack. There must be 5,000 spent oil wells waiting to be fracked. Each fracked well produces a burst of methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is 25 times more destructive to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The initial billions of gallons of water is not the greatest damage done by fracking. Once the well is fracked, the fracking fluid must be pumped out and disposed of. This is done by drilling a disposal well out of the oil field and pumping the fluid into the ground where it eventually migrates to an aquifer. When this happens, the aquifer can no longer provide drinking water and can’t be used for agriculture.

Tom Freeman, Pinion Hills

 

Hop to it: Easter fun abounds in the Inland Empire

Yazmin Alvarez

As spring puts a hop in your step, get ready to bop around this weekend as several Easter events are taking place throughout the Inland Empire.

From egg hunts to decorating contests and suiting up in your Sunday best for service, there’s something for everyone!

•The City of Rialto will host its Spring Eggstravaganza April 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 pm at the Rialto Civic Center, 150 S. Palm Ave. The event will be held in conjunction with the Rialto Branch Library and includes free spring crafts, an egg hunt, plus games and giveaways.

For more information, call 909-877-9706.

•The Easter Bunny will be at the Inland Center Mall’s Center Court through April 4th, 500 Inland Center Drive, San Bernardino.

Families are invited to visit with the Easter Bunny and capture this memory by purchasing a special photo of their children with the floppy-eared favorite. Children also will receive a complimentary Easter activity book, courtesy of National Geographic when they visit, while supplies last.

Information: 909-884-7268

•Spring Festival & Egg Hunt A Spring Festival & Egg Hunt will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cucamonga Guasti Regional Park, 800 North Archibald Ave., Ontario.

Registration for the egg hunts run 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The event includesegg hunts, crafts, egg decorating contest, fun zone, visits from the Easter Bunny, food, vendors, face painting and more! Don’t forget your basket for the egg hunts! $10 Parking fee.

For more information 909-481-4205

•Imagine Church will hold its 8th annual Easter Eggstravaganza for children, ages 11 and under from 10 a.m. to noon April 4 at Palm Avenue Elementary School, 6565 Palm Ave., San Bernardino. Gates open at 9:45 a.m.

The free event will include crafts, an Easter skit, a visit from Easter Bunny and an egg hunt with 15,000 eggs. The egg hunt will be divided by age groups. Information: 909-887-0604 or imaginechurch.net.

•Sunrise Church in Rialto will hold a unique celebration of Easter services April 5.

Easter Sunrise Service begins at 6:30 a.m. with breakfast following. Additional services are set at 8:15 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11:45 a.m. with music and celebration with the Gospel Choir, Praise Band, Praise Singers and Dance Ministry. (Children’s Bible classes are also available.)

Special Activities at the Sunrise Rialto Worship Center will follow each service (9:20-9:50am, 11:05-11:35am, 12:50-1:20 p.m.) and will include face painting, bouncers, petting zoo, popcorn, sno-cones and cotton candy.

Spanish Easter Services begin at 8:15 a.m. and 10 a.m. in the Sunrise Church Rialto Auditorium. For more information, call 909-875-5566 ext 212.

And while you’re out hopping around with family, don’t forget to snap some photos for a feature in iSeeIE!

Did you get a cute moment with them wearing floppy ears or in their best Easter outfit out hunting for eggs?

Capture it and send it over to iseeie@iecn.com or tag @iecn on Instagram with #iSeeIE, #iecn.

Yazmin Alvarez is a reporter with Inland Empire Community Newspapers and can be reached at iecn.yazmin@gmail.com.

Bipartisanship more necessary than ever

With most Americans getting their political knowledge purely from modern sources of sensationalized media, there is a lack of respect that self-described “informed voters” have for anyone who disagrees with their “correct knowledge.” Many times I’ve seen talk-show hosts curse out members of the opposing political ideology only to be retaliated with bleeps. Without mutual respect and indoctrinated by media to have an elitist attitude, voters push their representatives to undermine the success of the other party and to continuously elect representatives who share their extreme views. Congress has been bickering over partisan bills, while matters they agree on are neglected. This new Congress passed the partisan Keystone XL pipeline instead of working on bipartisan corporate tax reform. With the United States in one of its most dire economic straits as the deficit continues to grow, bipartisanship seems more necessary than ever.

Austin Chao, Chino

Permanent solutions to California’s drought

The newspapers and TV are full of information on the drought in the state of California. Some are pushing rationing, but no one is offering permanent solutions. I would like to offer some solutions I feel could be accomplished if “the powers that be” had the willpower to pursue them. First, new construction could have a gray water filtering system for reuse. Existing buildings could be retrofitted which would be expensive, but maybe our government could give tax breaks or assistance. Seeding of clouds are being done, but not near enough. California has numerous clouds and fog that pass over us without being seeded. Which means neighboring states receive the rain that should have been ours. We need to build an aqueduct from the East Coast to the West Coast, with outlets reaching various states. When some states are flooded, the flood waters could be diverted to the main aqueduct and moved to areas that can use it. Dams could be built to generate electricity for power to push the water over mountains and the extra electricity could be sold to municipalities. I know, your first thought is it would cost a lot of money. Well, just look at what our government is spending now on pork barrel and useless studies, as well as flood control and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Also, I’m sure some think it’s an impossible engineering feat. Well, look what was accomplished by ancient Romans and Indians like the Mayans. Or modern time accomplishments like the Sacramento Delta or the Works Progress Administrations (WPA) projects. These things could all be accomplished if we had good leaders.

Mary Ann Rohde, Yucaipa

Bipartisanship more necessary than ever

With most Americans getting their political knowledge purely from modern sources of sensationalized media, there is a lack of respect that self-described “informed voters” have for anyone who disagrees with their “correct knowledge.” Many times I’ve seen talk-show hosts curse out members of the opposing political ideology only to be retaliated with bleeps. Without mutual respect and indoctrinated by media to have an elitist attitude, voters push their representatives to undermine the success of the other party and to continuously elect representatives who share their extreme views. Congress has been bickering over partisan bills, while matters they agree on are neglected. This new Congress passed the partisan Keystone XL pipeline instead of working on bipartisan corporate tax reform. With the United States in one of its most dire economic straits as the deficit continues to grow, bipartisanship seems more necessary than ever.

Austin Chao, Chino

Cesar Chavez: A man who was full of humility

By Antony Victoria

I was about twelve years old when I first learned about the late-great Cesar Chavez. Since then, I have learned to embrace his birthday annually in March. A leader of his stature deserves the commemoration.

I am not quite sure we will ever see a leader of his quality again. We can only hope.

Throughout primary and secondary school, we learned of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Kennedy brothers (John Fitzgerald and Robert Francis)–some of the most influential leaders in the history of the United States.

Soon enough I learned that a Mexicano, more specifically, a Chicano (Mexican-American) is in the same standing as the aforementioned individuals; a man who favored peace and negotiation, despite facing discriminatory and outright hate from opposers.

And yet this powerful man was nothing more than a concerned human being–one who realized that the exploitation of farm workers was pushing families near the brink of poverty. A quiet man, whose eyes captured an enigma. In them one saw the strange combination of gentleness, sadness and humor. As James Vizzard wrote in the Progressive Magazine in 1966:

“So speaks the man who is determined to lead his people out of bondage, the leader who provides the greatest hope of our generation that the isolated and exploited farm worker be brought into the mainstream of American life.”

Alike King, who seized victory and progress with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Cesar remained humble in the midst of his eventual triumph in the Delano grape strike. In turning down a national award, Chavez expressed respectfully:

“What has happened in Delano is not the work of any one man and I do not believe it would be fitting to honor any one. We as a group can only bring honor by continuing to fight here in Delano and by continuing to remain non-violent in our struggle.”

Chavez’s humility is what caused farmworkers and fellow organizers alike to admire him, though his modesty was not due to coyness, as some people have inferred. Instead, it was his first hand experience.

The Arizona native moved with his family to California during the Great Depression after their land and grocery store was confiscated due to financial hardship. His family spent many years working picking peas, lettuce, cherries, corn, and grapes in the fields. Chavez would only study up to the Seventh Grade, opting to devote the majority of his time working as a farmworker to help support his family.

In an era in which so many social activists and community organizers let frustration get the best of them, which subsequently led to their promotion of self-defense and violent measures, Chavez chose non-violence. As Mohatmas Gandhi had done in India just a few decades before, and King a few years prior, the United Farm Workers union co-founder viewed pacifism as a decisive tool for social justice. It was Chavez’s decision to approach the trip from Delano to Sacramento, not as a protest march, but as a pilgrimage of penance and prayer.

It is therefore important to recognize that Chavez’s legacy exceeds politics, social justice, and even legal justice. The battle for labor rights was not one that aimed to elevate Mexican-Americans, Filipinos, or other marginalized groups’ status in the U.S. As the pilgrimage demonstrated, it was a call for respect. A call to appreciate thy fellow man and empathize with their hardships.

Chavez’s legacy, in my perspective, will always motivate people to seek humility before anything else. In a world that continues to see exploitation of labor, discrimination against migrants, and social injustice, perhaps that is all we need–a bit of humility.

Sí se puede, humanidad. Sí se puede.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at victoriaanthony91@gmail.com or at (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Ysmael R. Villegas: A Legacy of Courage and Valor

Today, we remember and reflect on the legacy of an American hero. Seventy years ago on this day, March 20, 1945, Staff Sergeant Ysmael R. Villegas sacrificed his life in a heroic battle in the Philippine Island of Luzon during World War II. He was born and raised in Riverside’s Casa Blanca community where family and friends fondly called him “Smiley.” He died a hero one day before his 21st birthday. A member of the “Greatest Generation,” Staff Sergeant Villegas served valiantly to defend the freedoms we Americans enjoy today. Staff Sergeant Villegas is Riverside’s first native-born recipient of the Medal of Honor. It was awarded posthumously to his wife and son on October 19, 1945 for gallantry and valor beyond the call of duty. Later, with full military honors, he was the first soldier interred at Riverside National Cemetery in 1978. His gravesite is located in Section 5, Site 1178. As the war raged throughout Europe and the Pacific Theater, Staff Sergeant Villegas served in the U.S. Army in Company F, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. He was fatally shot by enemy Japanese soldiers. He successfully charged five rifle pits but didn’t make it to the sixth one. His leadership inspired his soldiers, and according the citation from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Archives reads in part: “Through his heroism and indomitable fighting spirit, S/Sgt. Villegas, at the cost of his life, inspired his men to a determined attack in which they swept the enemy from the field.” We remember and thank Ysmael R. Villegas for exemplifying the true meaning of honor, valor and patriotism. Sincere condolences to his son Charlie Villegas (my high school friend), and his numerous family members. We are grateful for the ultimate sacrifice of Staff Sergeant Ysmael R. Villegas, our Hometown Hero.

Frances J. Vasquez, Riverside, CA

San Bernardino Memorial Services for Leno F. Díaz

San Bernardino Community Scholarship Association has added a new scholarship fund in honor of our father, Leno F. Diaz — the “Leno F. Diaz Memorial”! If anyone is interested in donating to the scholarship fund (in lieu of flowers, etc.), please send checks made out to — San Bernardino Community Scholarship Association (SBCSA). Please write “Leno F. Diaz Memorial” in the “memo” portion of the check and mail to: San Bernardino Community Scholarship Association Attn: Susan Zavala 777 North F Street San Bernardino, CA 92410 We are so honored by this effort spearheaded by our folks’ dear friends in San Bernardino. We thank them for caring so much about Leno’s legacy. I understand that the funds will go to support students at a high school in San Bernardino that focuses on the arts. Just as dad – the artist – would have wanted it. Services will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 2 – 4 p.m. at the home of Tom and Lily Rivera, 23170 Vista Grande Way, Grand Terrace, CA 92313 Thank you,

Kathy and Eduardo

Sweet treats made with love, care

The most coveted item you can bring to a potluck, party, friendly or family gathering of any kind, is a pie or cobbler from Mommie Helen’s Bakery. If ever you thought your grandmother or great aunt could make a great pie, forget about it. Their pies and cobblers are made from the very best ingredients, know how, and the most important ingredient: care and love. After having Mommie Helen’s sweet potato pie, you will wonder why anyone would want pumpkin. Dorothy Pryor Rose and her wonderful family have a following, me included, that extends far beyond the Inland Empire. People come from far and wide to pick up their pies. A few Thanksgivings ago, I witnessed a very elegant woman back a brand new white Bentley up to their door. She then loaded her entire trunk with sweet potato pie — front to back, side to side full. Maybe about 100 pies. They have outgrown two other locations, and have now settled in a new spot on South E Street, next to FedEx. They will make FedEx famous! I wish Dorothy and her family all the luck in the world. God bless you!

Phil Turner, Grand Terrace

Foodie Fests: 10 days to eat like a king

Foodies put your eatin’ pants on, the next 10 days are devoted for those that are always hungry for more.

And since we’re talking food here there’s no need to set up this elaborate intro on what’s going on and give reasons why it’s happening.

It’s simple —three events, 10 days— it’s all about food, baby or in my case, a food baby. In order of indulgence opportunity:

°San Bernardino’s Third Thursdays Food Fest – March 19 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Court Street Center lot, 300 N “D” St, San Bernardino. Food trucks expected include Brätworks, Natural Gourmet Hot Dogs (San Bernardino’s Own), Belly Bombz Korean BBQ, The Lobos Truck, My Delight Cupcakery, Piaggio on Wheels, The Grilled Cheese Truck and Crepes Bonapart. For updates follow SB Third Thursdays on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SBThirdThursdays or on Twitter, @SBThirdThursday.

°Inland Empire Restaurant Week – March 20 – 29 A foodie’s dream. A 10-day dining opportunity featuring discounted prix fixe menus from more than 200 of the best restaurants in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. No tickets or passes are required. Food lovers can simply dine out at as many participating restaurants as they like during Inland Empire Restaurant Week to take advantage of special pricing and menus. This year’s eateries include Riverside’s ProAbition, Montclair’s Dolce Bistro, Redlands’ own Brewcakes and Rancho Cucamonga’s N7 Creamery * Cafe * Bakery.

Visit www.InlandEmpireRestaurantWeek.com for more information and a complete list of participating restaurants.

°The Great American Foodie Fest – March 27 – 29 at Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd in San Diego.

Here’s your chance to join White Castle Craver Nation.

That’s right, America’s first fast-food hamburger chain will serve its signature sliders fresh for the first time in Southern California during the event.

More than 50 food trucks, a beer garden, live entertainment, carnival rides, games and ready for this —eating competitions, are all part of the Red Dragon hosted food party, the founders of the popular Las Vegas Foodie Fest.

The event’s food party includes an impressive food truck line up including the Middle Feast Food Truck, winners of season five of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race;” Crepes Bonaparte, featured on cooking shows such as “Giada” and a second helping if you missed it in San Bernardino; along with dozens more.

Unlimited general admission starts at $8 a day or $13 for a weekend pass per person if purchased in advance, and $10 a day or $15 for a weekend pass if purchased at the gate. Active military personnel and veterans, seniors 59 and older, and San Diego County first responders will receive a discount of $2 off ticket purchased at the gate with a valid ID. Individual food and drink items are priced per purchase. Parking will be available at no cost.

Follow the fest on Facebook at facebook.com/GreatAmericanFoodieFest and @GAFoodieFest on Twitter for truck updates and ticket information.

So if you’re on a diet, counting carbs, calories or find yourself saying “Thanks, but I really shouldn’t” when offered more, I’m sorry.

I’m making room for second breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and midnight snacks. Join me in digging in!

~iecn.yazmin@gmail.com

More dialogue about sexual assault needed

College should be safe, however, no place is 100 percent safe. When a person discloses a trauma such as sexual assault, it is critical they feel safe. Students contacting the San Bernardino County Sexual Assault Services will have this safe space to contact 24 hours a day. I’m a social work graduate student at Cal State San Bernardino, where we recently had two sexual assaults on women within days of each other. As a member of the CSUSB community, my heart goes out to the victims. Every college/university should reach out to work with SBCSAS to further ensure student safety and recovery. We need more open and honest conversations about sexual abuse and violence against women on all college campuses to maintain awareness and relevance of these issues. We can only address the problems when we address the problems.

Troy Mondragon, San Bernardino The letter writer is a member of the San Bernardino County Behavioral Health Commission.

Lawmakers are part of the problem

The new guys don’t seem any different than the old fogies. Rep. Norma Torres, D-Ontario, is on the Homeland Security Committee. I didn’t read anything about her protesting about the GOP’s proposal. She didn’t go to the press and point fingers at the culprits who started this mess. Reporters are the main tool to get things done. The second she heard a hint at such a despicable thought as not funding our security, she should have bolted to the press with the information. Forget what the parties would think. When approval of Congress is below 20 percent, don’t tell us you are frustrated, tell us who is screwing us. Tell us what you said and who responded to it. We need to know who is not letting Congress do its job. We don’t want to know Republicans or Democrats, we need to know who squeaked the first words, “Let’s place the nation in danger, don’t fund our security.” Tell us who hates Obama so much that they are willing to place the entire country in harm’s way. If you’re part of a committee, it’s your responsibility to meet its goal and report who is trying to sabotage it. Torres, Pete Aguilar and Paul Cook, if you don’t want to make waves, get out of the pool. And as for Torres and Aguilar, please don’t say, you’re getting your feet wet. You ran for the office, you should’ve known what you were getting into. No excuses.

Victor P. Lopez, San Bernardino

In-home caregivers work non-stop

This is a response to recent news about in-home supportive services, the state-funded program that allows in-home care for the disabled. I am a California native. I grew up in Southern California. I went to elementary school here. I went to college here. I married here. My children went to school here. I worked hard my whole life. I paid my taxes, I gave to charity and taught my children sensitivity and responsibility. With both my husband and I working, we put away for retirement. We paid off our house and our cars and put a little aside for the kids’ college. We volunteered and were involved in our community. But then my husband got sick. Seriously sick. My aging parents needed help; mom fell and broke her hip and dad has dementia. We were hit by a drunk driver who had no insurance. My eldest son lost his leg. My daughter’s child was deprived of oxygen at birth and is brain damaged. My grandchild has autism and cannot be left unsupervised. I took on more jobs. At one point, I was working three jobs and still being a caregiver. We exhausted our savings and retirement on medical bills. I was exhausted and it all ended when I was taken by ambulance from my work. I was forced to change my lifestyle for my own health and so I chose being a caregiver to the one who needed me most. We made the choice not to go to a nursing home because of the low quality of individual care. We couldn’t afford assisted living or a nurse’s aid part-time. We adapted. I go to food banks. I shop at the Goodwill. I cut coupons. I work hard 24/7. My child has a feeding tube; it has to be cleaned twice a day. My father needs help dressing. My mother has to be driven to the doctor. Uninterrupted sleep is priceless. I do this job for under $10 an hour, part-time pay, full-time work. No vacations, no sick days, no days off. I am not on drugs, alcohol or illegal substances. I am not after my family members’ money or worldly goods. We don’t have any. I could be Caucasian. I could be black. I could be Hispanic. I could be Asian. I could be young. I could be middle-aged. I could be old. I deal with prejudice from misconceptions and false beliefs. I am the poster child of the IHSS. I could be you.

Angel Gordon, Hesperia

The trust factor

I can’t imagine how anyone could vote for Hillary. She even went against the president’s mandate and did whatever she wanted. She follows in the footsteps of her famous, impeached husband as just another politician who cannot be trusted.

Ed Wentz, Colton

 

 

The Great Race: The perfect catalyst for San Bernardino’s looming Art culture

Anthony Victoria

San Bernardino, like many U.S. cities, prides itself on its rich historic past. The illustrious Route 66 is one particular historical item that continues to be embedded in the minds and hearts of our city’s residents.

The Great Race—the annual cross-country competition that is scheduled to take place on June 27—will bring back the aura of the car culture that continues to take great precedence. City officials and community leaders are working diligently to ensure the Race’s one-day stop in San Bernardino is one that people won’t forget.

One can already envision the smell of chili and barbecue, taste the strong hops of rich craft brewed beer, and see the joy in the faces of local children as they witness antique roll through E Street.

“We’re blessed to have partnerships that step up to help us as we try to rebrand and revitalize downtown,” Valdivia told the San Bernardino Sun on February 3. “It’s events like this that send a message.”

The message is that the city of San Bernardino is ready for rejuvenation. Residents and leaders will no longer stand idle to witness the city worsen due to fiscal crisis. As was expressed by Mayor Carey Davis during his State of the City Address on March 6, “I ran for mayor so that I could lead the city out of this disaster and the common council and I are committed to turning this crisis into an opportunity.”

While skepticism remains regarding the mayor and common council’s ability to bring in businesses, job opportunities, reduce crime, and solve the homeless issue; many residents in recent months have rallied around city-wide efforts to promote stability and foster community.

The community road shows that took place throughout the month of February allowed residents to provide dignitaries and San Bernardino City Unified School District officials their input on different options and methods they can use to improve the quality of life in San Bernardino. Among them was the need to organize more events geared towards boosting the morale of the common folk. Another event that saw a great amount of community participation was the KaBOOM Playground Build that took place in the fall. Over 200 volunteers—ranging from local university students to the mayor himself—helped turn Ninth Street Park into a modern playground for young children on the Westside.

As a younger resident, while appreciating the glamour and history of Route 66, I recognize that in the long run, a cultural shift away from the car culture may be looming. However, that does not imply that the significance of Route 66 will fade away.

In speaking to artists and young people in general, the city’s new breed (my personal description of San Bernardino residents ages 18-30) yearns for creative expression through music and murals. They acknowledge the importance of the route to the city’s cultural development, and they believe the arts can exemplify this even further. Cal State San Bernardino professors Tom McGovern and Juan Delgado are aspiring to transform the windows and walls of the Arts on 5th building, located near downtown San Bernardino, into a visual structure that will showcase the city’s long-standing fascination with the road.

San Bernardino should continue to hold events like the Great Race, but also incorporate other intriguing components such as mural painting, concerts, and farmer’s market simultaneously to increase participation and inclusion among residents.

In its 32nd year, the Great Race has as adopted the interesting motto, “Ride, Repair, Repeat.” This event, with swift and decisive input from everyone in San Bernardino, will provide a shot of confidence that the once All-America city needs.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at victoriaanthony91@gmail.com or at (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Cal State San Bernardino Crime Increase

In light of the unprecedented criminal activity on campus, I wanted to reach out to each of you and let you know how we are addressing and mitigating this important issue. Earlier this morning, I produced a special video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2asWTp8NCo&feature=youtu.be) on this subject and I urge you to take the time to watch. If need be, I have posted a transcript of the video, below. Please know that CSUSB is committed to keeping everyone across campus safe and sound. Over the last two weeks, CSUSB has experienced an unprecedented number of crimes on campus. This is incredibly disturbing, as this university has long been a model for campus safety, including being ranked amongst the safest campuses in California. As you would imagine, a number of faculty, staff and students have contacted me with their concerns. There is little doubt that these experiences are hurting the confidence in safety that we expect, and this is unacceptable. Let me be clear – the safety of our campus community is our HIGHEST priority and I have instructed our leadership team accordingly. University Police staffing has been more than doubled, 24 hours a day, in response to these incidents, including bringing in additional officers from other CSU campuses to supplement our force. Expect to see a high level of police visibility for the foreseeable future. It’s important for everyone to also know that the suspect involved in the carjacking incident is now behind bars, awaiting trial. I have personally called on our city and county leaders to significantly increase their police presence of the neighborhoods surrounding CSUSB. To that end, each of us has responsibilities as well. Our police force can only do their job effectively if the community is doing its part. All of us must commit to being more vigilant while on campus and immediately reporting anything or anyone that appears out of place. Pay closer attention to details that we often take for granted. Put away cell phones, head phones and other devices that distract us when moving about the campus. If possible, move around the campus with a group or at least one other person. This is especially important during evenings and weekends, when the campus can be less populated. If need be, please contact University Police at the number on your screen (909-537-5165) for an escort and they will get to you as soon as possible. When in doubt, call University Police immediately. If anyone has information on the most recent incidents on campus, I urge you to come forward and report it. Every communication we receive will help to restore confidence in the safety of our campus. We are a community! Let’s work together to ensure that CSUSB will always be a great environment to learn, work and live. Thank you!

Tomás D. Morales President

High-speed rail system a waste of money

Well, California is getting a bullet train! Lakes are drying up; farms are drying up; water levels all over are going down, but we are getting a bullet train. Maybe the train can bring water from up north. We watch TV when it rains and see all the runoff going to the ocean. You’d think with all the labor and skill in California that we could store or divert that water to the lakes or storage facilities. We could also build de-salting plants all along the coast and pump the water to the lakes. With the billions that Gov. Jerry Brown is going to spend on the bullet train that nobody wants or needs, he could do something to help California instead of wasting money on a bullet train.

Rudy Archuleta, San Dimas

 Why California’s gas prices are so high

California gas prices are up $1 in a month for unnecessary reasons: The Torrance refinery is shut down from damages and other refineries in the state are down to create the costly summer blend. The problem is that the state has refused to allow more refineries to be built. Indeed, with onerous restrictions against developing plentiful state oil and gas resources, our gas prices will continue to be the highest in the nation. Worse, extreme California environmentalism is responsible for punishing AB 32 carbon taxes that not only raise the cost of gas, but raise the overall cost of living in the state. Coupled with environmentalist-caused high water prices and Central/Southern California water shortages, not from drought, and the insanity of big government over-regulation and taxes, California is sadly crashing in slow-motion. Adding insult to injury, California being a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants simply exacerbates the costs by billions, along with the problems of domestic and national security.

Daniel B. Jeffs, Apple Valley

 

Daylight Saving Time – How to survive losing an hour

Yazmin Alvarez

Let’s face it, not all of us are blessed as spring chickens anymore, so losing an hour of sleep this weekend as we turn clocks forward an hour (early Sunday morning—March 8) for Daylight Saving Time is just going to give us an added sluggish start to those already, too-early to get up mornings.

So why does “spring forward” sound so fun when in reality we’re losing?

I don’t have the answer to that and I didn’t really take the time to dig for one, but I did find some helpful hints to help make the time change less miserable for the already sleep deprived, like your’s truly.

Thinking I’m not the only that struggles to get a good night’s rest and is up at 3 a.m. watching ‘Intelligence for your Life,’ soaking in tons of life knowledge, brain stuff like learning why people are taking selfies with bears in the wilderness and what’s causing our rumps to expand—yea, stuff like that keeps a girl up at night.

The answers being: office chairs and Instagram followers (you can decide where to draw the correct line).

But seriously, so many of us are chronically sleep deprived that we can’t really afford to lose another hour. So how do we deal?

That answer I do have!

A post on Health.com—4 Ways to Make the Switch to Daylight Savings Time Less Miserable—among several other sites, offers ways to help dumb down the science of losing sleep and adjusting to Daylight Saving Time (again, March 8).

Tips from sleep specialist and clinical psychologist Michael Breus, PhD:

•Start by dialing back your bedtime-

“If you’re among the many Americans who are sleep deprived, it probably won’t be difficult for you to fall asleep at the new time,” Breus says. Just be sure to set your clock ahead before going to sleep on Saturday, March 7. “That way, seeing the lost hour up front will motivate you to go to bed earlier.” Waiting to change your clocks the next morning and watching that hour disappear can feel like a loss, says Breus.

If you’re among the only marginally sleep deprived, or if you have generally good sleep habits, you can get yourself in gear by pulling back your bedtime incrementally before the time change. “On the Wednesday before the time change, go to bed 15 minutes earlier,” Breus suggests. “On Thursday, go to bed another 15 minutes earlier, and another 15 the next two nights so that by Saturday, you’re going to bed an hour early.”

•Avoid certain drinks this weekend-

You already know that limiting your alcohol intake is generally a smart move, and this weekend in particular, Breus advises capping your nightcap. “Even though alcohol makes you feel sleepy, it prevents you from reaching those all-important deeper stages of sleep,” he said. (I don’t advise it or promote it, but, a few bottles can surely be a K.O.)

Bustle.com suggests to ditch the caffeine. I know, I laughed, too.

Most of us need the swig of tar before becoming human but caffeine can get in the way of a good night’s sleep. They suggest to keep the artificial energy to a minimum in the days leading up to March 8.

Tweak your workout schedule (maybe)

For some folks with a regular fitness routine, switching things up can help you adjust to Daylight Savings Time. Regular exercise is a key component to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Just remember to preserve a three-hour window between your sweat session and bedtime so you have enough time to wind down, Breus suggests.

So, what did we learn?

Daylight Saving Time sucks and we’re going to be tired come Monday. Good luck and sleep tight.

~iecn.yazmin@gmail.gmail.com or 909-381-9898 Ext. 207

Intervention program steers kids from gangs

As a taxpayer, I believe it is important to fund programs that educate our youth about the dangers of gang involvement. There are currently 400,000 teen gang members in the U.S.; 100,000 are in some type of detention/correctional facility costing approximately $250 per day. This early intervention program targeting children beginning in the fourth grade will increase awareness and teach youth skills that will help them prepare for adolescence, which is a time when they are more vulnerable to the influence of gang involvement. Bringing community organizations and faith-based programs together for this cause will help youth feel connected to resources in their community. If we can prevent one young person from getting involved in gangs through this program, the money spent will be worth every penny. I say, “Pay and prevent now or regret and pay later!”

Martha Saucedo, Loma Linda

City must stop driving out local businesses

The city of San Bernardino has done everything it can to drive businesses out of San Bernardino. I realize our police and authorities are spread too thin due to economic issues, but when we have homeless people walking down the streets with stolen $300 shopping carts, $15 dairy crates by the hundreds in the back of pickup trucks and in private garages, and thousands of these crates at the swap meet — it is printed right on the sides of all these crates that this is private property and a $500 or $1,000 fine if caught in possession of these crates — it costs the companies millions of dollars a year which is passed on to consumers. Then we have people on offramps and street corners selling flowers, fruits, vegetables, tamales and more with no city permit or license; they pay no sales tax or income tax while our local businesses are struggling to stay in business and forced to pay all of these fees. We have people selling new products at their yard sales without permits or paying taxes, as well as hanging garage sale signs all over city posts and streets for days and weeks at a time — which is illegal. Fining these people would recoup money and pay the salaries for people out busting these lawbreakers and thieves, and it would help support local businesses.

Steve Portias, San Bernardino

Foster children long for a family — not medication

As a current advocate for foster youth, an adult supporter for California Youth Connection-Riverside chapter, and a Children’s Social Services employee for 15 years, I would like to acknowledge the San Bernardino Sun’s recent article, “California foster care: Push to curb medication has failed in past” (Feb. 23). The voices of foster youth must be acknowledged and considered in the decision-making process which affects their lives. The Katie A. decision enacts policy to elevate the voice of the children and families involved with social services, mental health, foster agencies and group homes. Forums like Child Family Teams, meetings held on a routine basis, a provision of the Core Practice Model, seeks to ensure children’s mental health needs are met and voices are heard. I volunteer as an adult support to connect with youth as a caring, committed adult. In my opinion, these children long for a sense of family — not medication.

Amada S. Whitson, Redlands

Making a healthier state

The legal smoking age should be raised to 21. Smoking is unhealthy, which is why people shouldn’t smoke in the first place. Smoking causes lung cancer, addiction and many other problems. Why should we allow someone who has just reached their 18th birthday to ruin their life at such a young age? John Adams said, “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man … .” By passing Senate Bill 151, we can prevent young people from becoming addicted to the harmful habit of smoking. Also, it has been proven that people are more likely to become addicted to smoking if they start at a young age. By raising the legal smoking age to 21 we can make California a healthier state.

Joy Jacks, Rosemead

Won’t make a difference

Age 21, 31, 41 — does it really make a difference in the long run? Tobacco is addictive and kills. Our enlightened youth has yet to understand that the human respiratory system was not designed to support nicotine and tar. That said, our spendthrift government might consider subsidizing the tobacco companies and have them ship large quantities of tobacco products to ISIS and al-Qaeda and then in a few years a good percentage of threats from lung cancerous terrorists would just die out. Literally!

Beverly Triggs, Granada Hills

A process of continuous improvement

Bruce  Baron

In drafting a response to Press-Enterprise reporter Mark Muckenfuss’ article, “Crafton Hills gets warning on status” [Feb. 11], it became very clear to me how little non-educators understand the accreditation process and how challenging it is to reduce any explanation of that process to 300 or 400 words for a news story.

Neither college in the San Bernardino Community College District “failed” its accreditation review and none of our communications with the media, in any way, suggested that they did.

Both Crafton Hills and San Bernardino Valley are in good standing with the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges, the arm of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges that oversees the accrediting process of the 112 California Community Colleges, which is authorized to operate by the U.S. Department of Education.

To clarify, both colleges are on “warning status” and the ACCJC has made specific recommendations that each school and the district need to address. We are to report our progress to the ACCJC by March 2016. This does not impact either school’s accreditation status. All credits and degrees earned by students retain their full accreditation status.

The ACCJC describes accreditation as “a voluntary system of self-regulation developed to evaluate overall educational quality and institutional effectiveness. The … process provides assurance to the public that the accredited member colleges meet the standards; the education earned at the institutions is of value to the student who earned it and employers, trade or profession-related licensing agencies, and other colleges and universities can accept a student’s credential as legitimate.”

Accreditation has four phases. First, the school conducts an internal evaluation, creating its report and collecting the supporting evidence using the 13 pages of ACCJC accreditation standards referred to above.

These are comprehensive, covering virtually every aspect of providing higher education programs and services to students. The reports generated by our colleges averaged 400 pages, plus hundreds of additional documents were supplied as supporting evidence. A college’s full accreditation review occurs at least every five to seven years, and usually a mid-cycle report must be prepared as well.

Next, the college hosts the “external evaluation by professional peers,” or team visit, for three to five days. From colleges around the region, the team members visually evaluate the campus, meet with administrators, students, faculty and staff, review the evidence provided and consider the district and college financial, technological, human and other available resources, comparing all their findings to the ACCJC standards. The ACCJC considers the reports when they evaluate a school’s status and make their accreditation decisions, which is the third step.

The ACCJC calls the fourth and most important step “the institutional self-improvement to meet evolving regional and federal standards.”

Colleges and the ACCJC are striving to provide students with the highest possible academic quality, and each college and the district uses the recommendations from the team report and the Commission decision to improve their institution in order to better serve students.

This ongoing, collaborative, supportive process shares the goal of implementing best practices in every aspect of operating a college in order to support student success, which is documented through

“completion of certificates and degrees and through student learning.”

The ACCJC has a range of sanctions available to it when a school does not comply with every standard, depending on the severity of the deficiencies, the college’s condition, its history of compliance and the impact of the noncompliance upon the quality and stability of the institution.

The ACCJC must terminate accreditation when an institution is determined to be out of compliance with eligibility requirements, accreditation standards and commission policies and fails to come into compliance within a two-year period.

The San Bernardino Community College District, Crafton Hills College and San Bernardino Valley College are proud of the work we do every day serving students.

The ACCJC findings indicate that there are some specific ways in which we can improve, and they want to evaluate our improvement by March 2016.

We do not downplay or take lightly any recommendation from the ACCJC and we look forward to having these issues satisfactorily resolved by this time next year.

Bruce Baron is chancellor of San Bernardino Community College District.

To ride on a street, yes, require wearing helmets

Cyclists, if we want to share the road as other vehicles, then we should follow all laws of the road. So yes, we should wear helmets, have insurance, stop at all stop signs, ride on the correct side of the road, stay off the sidewalks, and pay vehicle registration tax just like motorcyclists. Regarding when it should be required, the big deciding factor is whether we are on a public street. If we are on a bike path that is not part of a vehicle road, then it should be our choice. Also, the state should make a law that all cyclists should stay three feet away from all pedestrians — similar to the current law that motor vehicles must stay three feet away from bicyclists.

Steve Manookian Rowland Heights

 College education isn’t for everyone

In the 1970s, there were students who wanted to go to college, and students whose goals did not include college. College-bound students took college-prep classes, studied/learned lesson content, received units for each class completed, took SAT tests, received a high school diploma then applied to college. If our SAT scores, GPA and other factors were good enough, we were accepted to college. When we were in college, we studied/completed our work, accumulated our units and received our degrees. We had dreams and worked in school to achieve them. We didn’t need an exam in order to graduate from high school. Maybe money saved from testing can fund auto, wood or metal shops. Or the fundamentals of business or bookkeeping classes. Not all students are college-bound. Students need supportive teachers, parents, dreams and goals, not extra testing.

Thomas Muñoz, Ontario

Keystone pipeline project not in our best interest”

Hats off to Ellen Taylor and her League of Women Voters for taking a stand against the Keystone XL pipeline. Too many people ignored this horrendous problem and now it’s upon us. The Senate passed the pipeline by a 62-38 margin and it sits on President Obama’s desk. He will probably veto it and it will go back to the Senate for five more votes to override his veto. I’ve been following fracking lawsuits on the Internet and see fracking and the pipeline as the same problem. There are fracking suits in courts across the nation including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Texas, Wyoming, Ohio — everywhere there’s been fracking. Texas is the only lawsuit that has been decided. A couple in Denton was awarded a $3 million settlement when a multi-national oil company’s fracking destroyed the air and water on their farm. However, all these lawsuits will go away if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is passed as it is now. Like the North American Free Trade Agreement fast-tracked through Congress in 1992, the PTT contains a right-to-profits clause. If a party to this agreement engages in a profitable enterprise in the United States and it proves to be hazardous, against state or federal law, and the enterprise is stopped, the corporation has the right to sue for the profits they would have made. It’s a truly bizarre concept and one that conservatives tried to get into law for 25 years before succeeding with NAFTA. Keystone is a done deal. The president will veto it; it will go back to Congress where five obscure senators will change their vote from nay to yea and the pipeline will pass into law. After all, we have the greatest Congress money can buy. To avoid total catastrophe, contact your congressman about the PTT’s right-to-profits clause or we will be unable to sue corporations for damages or make them comply with any health and safety laws, environmental laws, or any law whatsoever. They will run wild.

Tom Freeman, Pinion Hills

 

 

iSeeIE Photo Series: Get out, see it, capture it!

Yazmin Alvarez

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Well here’s your chance!

I’ve compiled a few unique and not-to-miss events taking place in the next few days throughout the Inland Empire and a sneak peak into other happenings in the next weeks.

And if you’re feeling a little spontaneous behind the lens while you’re out, take a snapshot of something you did.. Did something catch your eye? Was there an unbelievable sunset? Did you spot a crazy looking critter or see the most adorable cat or dog?

The Inland Empire has so many places for great sceneries and there are so many opportunities and moments to capture out there and I want to see your photos! We all want to see your photos!

I’m starting a new photo series called iSeeIE and it’s all about what locals spy in the area.

See a llama downtown waiting outside of the pizza shop? A dog on it’s hind legs? A group of warbirds taking flight over the Inland sky?

Take a picture and send it over to me!

I’m not looking for selfies (unless it’s an “in the moment” photo of you with someone amazing like the photo of me with Lincoln on the front cover) or your outfit of the day, makeup of the day or throwback Thursday or whatever photo.

Besides, those aren’t fun. And not fun doesn’t win. That’s right. There’s a chance to win something here!

Depending on what I want to see, or ideas submitted, I may have a photo project/scavenger hunt involved. Probably something to do with food or cookies or cats… but that explanation will come each week.

From there, I’ll choose a photo from those submitted and I’ll publish it in the paper, online and on our Instagram page! The winner gets tickets, vouchers, coupons or whatever I can pull out of my hat, to something fun to do in the IE.

The point here—See it? Capture it. Now get out and explore!

For the time being, send photos over to my email: iecn.yazmin@gmail.com as I get things going for this series and tag your photos on our Instagram: @iecn_onthebeat. Use the hashtags #iSeeIE and #iecn for your photo to be featured. Who knows, you could have the winning shot! So what are you waiting for… get out and see the I.E!

And congrats to our first winner, C.J. Ellington. He snapped a photo of some eerie fog over the Mt View Ave. bridge in Loma Linda!

Thanks C.J!

C.J.’s photo can be seen in this week’s edition of the Inland Empire Weekly on page 2.

To kickstart the series, join the Redlands Area Historical Society as they host two walking tours Feb. 21 at 9 a.m. and March 7 at 9 a.m.

Part 1 of the Eureka Street walking tour begins Feb.21 at the corner of Eureka Street and West Palm Avenue. This first tour of Eureka will travel north to Fern Avenue and then return to West Palm Avenue. Fee is $10.

The homes on Part 1 were built in the 1950s in the 700 block and in the 1920s in the 600 block. The 700 block defines the 1950s with carports, cul-de-sacs and the California Ranch style. The 600 block captures the Dike and Logie Subdivision with monumental street decor, revival architecture, a few California bungalows and a street-tree theme of incense cedars.

The 500 block of Eureka has a designated historic district with the Garrett Huizing California bungalow homes. Cobblestone porch piers, rock garden features, open verandas, low roof lines, protruding rafters and ribbon driveways for the new auto machines adorn this unique neighborhood.

Redlands Area Historical Society membership forms and Historical Society publications are available at the end of the tours.

~iecn.yazmin@gmail.com.

Cut ties with countries with inhumane policies

The latest violence — burning alive a human and releasing a video on the Internet as proof — is the last straw. We need to bring home our military personnel and government officials in those countries fighting each other under the pretense of religion. It is money they are fighting over! Bring the troops home and put them along our borders. No one enters except through the gate. This applies to Mexico as well. If the government can’t protect their people and the people won’t fight for their freedom, they’re on their own. Don’t come crying to us for our dreams — we fought for ours. Mexico’s government can’t find the people responsible for burning 43 students. Give me a break. We need to cut our ties with countries that deny basic human rights under the guise of religion (drugs in the case of Mexico). Even those we helped have warped values for their less fortunate. These countries destroy their children and the adults do nothing to protect them. We don’t have to pretend to be doing humanitarian services for them and buy their product, which we have enough of in our own country. When people are cutting off heads, burning each other, using children to kill, wrapping themselves with explosives, it’s time to cut them lose. I’m not condoning violence, I’m promoting staying away from it to protect our own.

Victor P. Lopez, San Bernardino

Eco-friendly Hawaii way ahead of California

We’re writing to commend the environmentally-caring people in Hawaii. We spent Christmas in Kona and were pleased to discover that, unlike the political/business wars occurring in California, Hawaii has taken the plastic-bag ban completely seriously. At the KTA Super Store in Keauhou, only paper bags are used and you are automatically charged 5 cents per bag, without the cashier even informing you. We’re not complaining; that’s fine with us; it seems to be ingrained in the island culture. And at Walmart they take it even further — there are no bags at all, either plastic or paper! You either bring your own cloth bags or you are informed that you can buy them for 50 cents each, or you can carry your stuff out in both arms (and we saw a bit of that). Advertisement Another forward-thinking step Hawaii has taken is the application of the sales tax to services, not just purchases. Again, Hawaii is ahead of California as we move increasingly to a service-based rather than consumption-based society. So Mahalo, Hawaii, for your help in protecting our Earth.

Wes and Patsy McDaniel, Banning

Big Tobacco wants to snuff out smoking age

he fact that Big Tobacco is in favor of keeping the status quo on age-related tobacco sales should tell us we should change it to 21. Big Tobacco is not interested in our health or that of our children — only the dotted line. And they know that the older one gets, the less likely they are to start smoking. I’m sure they will spend millions to defeat any law intended to keep kids from smoking — they always have. They have now settled on nanny laws and how they are interfering with our so-called freedoms. What about seat belts or clean eating establishments? We don’t hear them or others complaining about those laws. Frankly, I’d rather my grandchildren eat at a not-so-clean restaurant than be able to buy death-producing cigarettes at an earlier age. If I had my way, cigarettes would be sold only in the middle of a busy freeway during rush hour.

Patricia A. Haight, Pasadena

No shots, no public school

I feel that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children against childhood diseases are quite uninformed. Shame on the grandparents of these children for not stepping up to the plate and instructing their own children on the devastating effects diseases such as measles can have on a child and family. I remember polio was a dark cloud looming overhead for children every summer. My parents were scared. Many children contracted the disease over the vacation. To think that progress made during my lifetime to eradicate these horrors might be overturned makes me very angry. To the parents who don’t believe in vaccines: Fine, do as you wish, but find some alternative for your child’s education. Public schools are not for you.

Mary Jaramillo, Rialto

Journalism Today: How Easy Is It to Adapt to Modern Technology?

By Anthony Victoria

We are living in the modern age—an era that features digital media as the lifeblood of the world’s information. The introduction of digital media has put into question the effectiveness of traditional media. In a period where vital information can be easily disseminated through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, will there be space left for traditional media values?

Tom Watson described it powerfully in a recent Forbes Magazine article titled, Journalism is Changing from the Bottom Up:

“Journalism sits on the sea between two mighty winds: the collapse of old school economic models that made newspapers, magazines, and network news operations big-time profit centers – and the still-unfolding opportunity provided by the 20-year-old commercial Internet and its related technology.”

As we continuously see a decline in newspaper viewership, print advertising, and traditional media circulation, the emerging digital media technology that is being utilized by entrepreneurs, start-up companies, philanthropists, and innovators continues to take flight at an unprecedented pace. Meanwhile, newspapers (both small and large) continue to take a dramatic plunge in revenue. The American Enterprise Institute’s Carpe Diem blogger, Mark J. Perry found through research that print ads are at its lowest rate since 1950.

It sounds like a Social Revolution that can make the average person into a news editor or entrepreneur. Awesome right?

Not Exactly.

It turns out that digital ad dollars are not replacing the traditional print ads quick enough. Even worse, it seems that digital ad revenue is barely growing at all, according to Slate Magazine’s Jordan Weismann.

So what’s the big hype about digital media? Well for starters, it’s information delivered at a quicker rate. As consumers of information, we are able to receive digital articles that include social perspective. For example, an opinion-editorial written by a columnist or reporter that is posted on Facebook or Twitter can receive feedback within a few minutes, whereas the print version of the editorial will receive responses days, if not weeks later. Moreover, innovative news forums such as reported.ly, shareable.net, and the Public Insight Network provide journalists, editors, and publishers with new networks to share knowledge, create constructive conversations, and invite collaboration.

The downside of the digital realm is the lack of an adequate product—one that lacks the quality of traditional newspapers’ designs. Whereas print provided you with the organization of news sections through various topics and ensured the reader the freedom to browse at own will, various digital media websites constantly lose readers due to tendencies of bombarding readers with ads that overlap stories.

What’s the solution?

I’m no expert, but I would suggest prioritizing the wants and needs of the reader. To make money as publishers, managers, and editors, the future of the modern newspaper will have to ensure that followers of news content receive an appealing and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, pretty soon people will no longer be receiving the paper every morning, opening it up and laying it out on the coffee table to explore the various sections page by page. Instead, at the demand of our fingers, we will have quick and ready information within minutes of a breaking event or issue.

The resurgence of the newspaper as a product will depend on our commitment of adapting to digital media and keeping the traditional values of accuracy, organization, and accessibility.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at victoriaanthony91@gmail.com or (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Potholes around town more than just eyesores

San Bernardino has one venue where people come from out-of-town regularly: the soccer fields on Arden Avenue. What a nice venue! I’m sure the people who go there are appalled by the huge potholes up and down Arden Avenue in front of the fields. I imagine they say, “Yep, we must be in San Bernardino.” The holes get a tiny patch periodically, but one rain takes them out. What an appalling advertisement for our city!

Diana Gall, San Bernardino

Gay marriage rights and religious freedom

If we truly want to legalize gay marriage, we have first to have a secular country, which means it doesn’t rely upon religious principles. If you have a theocratic country, you would have so many problems with the people who don’t adopt the religion of the country. In order to have a free society all people must have equal rights, no matter what they believe. Also, even if the majority of people are against gay marriage, it should be legal because it’s wrong to ask straight people about the rights of gay people. To clarify: Imagine you live in a country where 90 percent of people are gay and 10 percent are straight. What would you think if you are straight and asked for your right to marry, then the justices said, we’re going to have a ballot, and based on what the majority think we will decide. How would you feel? Gay marriage is a civil right. Let people marry whomever they love, so we will not have the same high divorce rate we confront now because some homosexuals think there is something wrong with them, so they marry and then find out that they can’t stay in this marriage.

Ibrahim Alsuhayih, San Bernardino

Environmentalists and the state’s plastic-bag ban

I think it was the picture of a pelican with a plastic bag hanging around its neck that was the clincher for the environmentalists’ ability to shut down the plastic bag industry in California and put 4,000 people out of work. I’ve been to the beach many times in my 66 years and never seen a pelican with a plastic bag around its neck. The environmentalists claim that thousands of animals are injured or killed by plastic bags each year yet I’ve never witnessed one animal harmed by a plastic bag. They also claim it takes 100,000 years for a single plastic bag to decompose in our landfills when plastic bags haven’t been around that long. How do they know? How do they come up with these exaggerated numbers? It will take 100,000 years for California to recover from the economic damage these wacky environmentalists are perpetrating. It’s a great time to be an environmentalist with victory after victory. It’s a very bad time to maintain a business in California and an awful time to be a pelican.

Ray Moors, Chino

Mad about immigration situation? Blame Congress

President Obama is on the right track. Unfortunately, Republicans and Democrats won’t get on board. When the president offers a challenge regarding an issue, Congress contests it. I guess it’s easier to keep getting elected by doing nothing. Although he could have done more, making an executive decision on immigration is a move forward. The best thing would have been an executive order that current immigration policy be strictly enforced. It’s nearly 40 years old and never been used. Had the policy been enforced, we wouldn’t be talking about raising taxes. The billions and trillions spent on illegal immigrants the last 40 years should’ve been spent on American families. Since politicians aren’t doing the right thing regarding illegal immigrants, I agree with a strict and painful tax increase. Every politician from the local City Council to the president should be taxed a minimum of 50 percent of their wages. They are directly responsible for the mess our cities, counties, states and nation are in. They’ve done nothing to solve our immigration problem. They negotiated unsustainable pensions for public employees, approved ridiculous benefits for managers and administrators, including a car allowance when they are given a government car, Social Security benefits without contributing to Social Security and full pay for doing nothing. Here’s an out for the politicians’ tax burden: pass a law allowing your constituents to vote on giving you a tax break based on your performance.

Victor P. Lopez, San Bernardino

Finding love in February

By Yazmin Alvarez

Tired of coming home to an empty house, sitting single on your loveseat meant for two and spending the night alone?

Well, finding true love can be as easy as a shake of a tail or a rub on the leg.

That’s right, that pitter patter from the sound of four paws that sends your heart racing with joy is the kind of “fur”-ever love you need this season of swoon, and heading over to the local animal shelter and pet adoption events is what you need to do to find love or let love pick you.

A few adoption events are planned locally to help keep your options open.

San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control will host a seven day “Furever Yours Pet Adoption Event” at its shelters in Devore and Big Bear Feb. 8-14. The Animals Are First Fund, ARFF,, a local non-profit charitable organization that assists animals in County of San Bernardino Animal Shelters, will be paying for vaccination, spay/neuter fees for adopted pets.

The adoption fees for the week are $25 for dogs and $17 for cats, which includes a microchip for each pet. The fee does not include the cost of a dog license and there is a limit of two adoptions per family.

If the week comes and goes and no four-legged friend has stolen your heart, no problem. There’s still hope. In fact, Cupid will be in full action in Redlands on Valentine’s Day to help with your search.

The Redlands Animal Shelter, Redlands Friends of Shelter Animals, along with Stell’s Coffee & Tea Co., will hold a CaPOOCHino Day and Kitty Too Fundraiser and Adoption event on Valentine’s Day, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at 1580 Barton Road A, in the Brookside Plaza Shopping Center.

The Redlands Animal Shelter and REDlands Friends of Shelter Animals will be bringing adoptable dogs and cats to help them find a fur-ever home, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

In addition to the adoptions, Stell owners Robbie and Amy Stell will donate part of the proceeds from all cappuccino sales that day to benefit the Redlands Animal Shelter.

Now, if February comes and goes and cupid still hasn’t shot an arrow your way, don’t worry, there’s still another 10 months in the year to keep searching.

And to help nudge some prospects your way, The Redlands Animal Shelter and Redlands Friends of Shelter Animals are making a standing date with you the first Saturday of each month at Sylvan Park in Redlands to keep hope alive with, “Saturdays in the Park: Dog Walking and Cat Cuddling.”

Saturdays in the Park gives the adoptable pets at the Redlands Animal Shelter a chance to stretch their legs, go for a walk and receive love and attention outside the shelter setting. But most importantly, it gives those looking for fur-ever loves a chance to interact with the animals and maybe meet that perfect pet.

All animals at Saturday’s in the Park will be available for adoption.

For more information, contact the Redlands Animal Shelter at 909-798-7644 or REDFOSA at 909-334-2610 or visit http://cityofredlands.org/police/animalcontrol or www.REDFOSA.org.

The Devore Animal Shelter is located at 19777 Shelter Way in San Bernardino. The shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control at 1-800-472-5609 or visit their website at www.sbcounty.gov/acc to see photographs of the animals awaiting adoption.

~ Yazmin Alvarez is a reporter with Inland Empire Community Newspapers and can be reached at iecn.yazmin@gmail.com.

Someone with ethics

Since Barbara Boxer is retiring from her Senate seat, about 14 candidates will be running. I would like to see someone with ethical values run. Looking at the past, there is a growing trend in the number of gifts given by powerful special-interest groups to California lawmakers. I feel that the voice of the ordinary citizen has all but disappeared. It doesn’t matter whether the donors are Democrats or Republicans; money becomes a political interest on its own. I also fear that equal pay, environmental and economic opportunity is routinely dismissed because corporate interests will oppose those measures. It seems that this is not about who has the best ideas in office, it is about who has the most money and gifts. Perhaps the newspaper can educate us to picking someone who is not supported by corporate interest?

John Winkler, San Pedro

Supporting Kamala Harris

At the moment, I’m tending to support Attorney General Kamala Harris for the Senate seat that Barbara Boxer will be leaving at the end of her term. I like the fact that Harris is familiar with both Northern and Southern California and is becoming better known throughout the state. Also in my sights is current U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, who has made a name for himself as someone willing to work across the aisle, and whose focus seems to be on serving the good of the greatest majority of his constituents. Under no circumstances would I ever vote for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for any political office in California. He lost all my respect through his less than upstanding behavior during his previous years in office when he was primarily a glory-seeking publicity hound.

Ellie Doud, Sherman Oaks

Test would force students to learn nation’s ideals

Understanding America’s civic history is vital to our future if we are to preserve liberty and freedom. Alexander Hamilton said, “The safety of a republic depends essentially on the energy of a common national sentiment; on a uniformity of principles.” And what are these principles in the United States? They are contained in our founding documents, what Abraham Lincoln called the “electric cord” binding us together: that all men are created equal and possess the rights of speech, religion, property and a government by consent. These values are what have made our nation the most powerful and prosperous on Earth. Our identity as a people is not based on geography or race, but on these timeless ideals. Requiring high school students to demonstrate a basic knowledge of our government as they prepare to fully participate in the civic life of our nation is a good idea.

Sen. Mike Morrell, Rancho Cucamonga

Give everyone the test

The question should be: “Why doesn’t every high school student in the United States have to pass this test to graduate?” It’s appalling how many young people know so little about their country and its form of government. Every test you ever took in school involved memorizing. This test is no different from the way we learned our times tables, addition and subtraction, spelling, etc. Based on the number of grammatical errors in your publications, it seems that maybe too many of you weren’t required to memorize much. Yes, memorize things and you will know more than you did before. It’s time young people demonstrate some knowledge about the society they live in. This isn’t rocket science, and it discriminates against no one. Any immigrant, legal or otherwise, has to pass this test to become a citizen. Is it too much to ask that our own kids know as much about their own country? Stop being apologists for people looking for any excuse to avoid learning their civic responsibilities.

Don Handley, Sierra Madre

Good idea, Arizona

What a great idea! Jay Leno once asked “the man on the street” (college age) civics questions and most of them had not the slightest idea who or what was the correct answer. The younger generation is growing up without the knowledge of how this country was founded, not to mention the lives lost in forming the union. A lot has changed since its founding, which is all the more reason that young folks need to know about our government. Over 60 years ago, we were taught civics. It was a good idea then and still is! Good for Arizona.

Edward Beauchamp, Lakewood

San Bernardino needs constructive community input

The residents of San Bernardino have been disappointed time and time again by the actions of our elected officials.

However, I believe it is time we stop placing the blame on councilmembers and the Mayor and begin to take critical action to ensure our city gets out of bankruptcy.

The city announced earlier this month that they will be initiating a bankruptcy exit plan that will seek community input from residents, community organizers, and business owners. It is important that residents continue to hold elected officials accountable, not by insulting them during meetings or on social media websites, but by planning ahead, doing research, and asking vital questions that will formulate constructive and critical debates.

Despite the general positions made by residents that San Bernardino’s city officials are neglectful of the public voice, measurable decisions have been made recently to ensure community engagement takes place.

For example, the San Bernardino Unified School District contacted the city to offer its facilities and resources for the effort. Board president Michael Gallo said the district has the ability to contact over 50,000 students (90 percent live in the city of San Bernardino). While it is uncertain how many of those students will be interested in engaging in the strategic planning process, the district’s idea is rooted in the right place.

Some groups who are likely to seize the opportunity to engage in critical dialogue are the Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC), whose number one priority in San Bernardino is to reduce crime and prevent violence among youth, and the Time for Change Foundation (TFCF), an organization that strives to help women transition from prison or drug addiction into steady careers and healthy lifestyles. Both groups have had respectful, and even successful dialogue with the school district before and are anxious to transform the city’s social order.

San Bernardino Generation Now, a group that takes pride in the restoration of parks and for motivating young high school students to register to vote, may also look to be involved in the community engagement process. One of its former members, Richard Tejada, currently works as an aide to the Mayor. It will be interesting to see if like Tejada, they can step into more political and arduous tasks. They have the numbers; the question is do they have the passion or the motivation to challenge city hall?

Most importantly however, the homeowners (or former owners)—the people who were tricked into signing contracts they didn’t understand by deceitful brokers and had to file for foreclosures should be at the forefront of the conversation. They have lost it all. They are the residents who have floated in and out of unemployment. Moreover they are the residents who have lost most of their faith in San Bernardino. Our biggest task as professionals, community organizers, city officials, and civilized residents is to try to spark the motivation of the working and middle class; to try to help them understand that without their help, we will continue to struggle through fiscally hard times.

We can continue to attend city council meetings and express our frustrations into the wind, or we can take a little time to do our research, ask insightful questions, and communicate respectfully with our city’s leaders.

There should be no ego, just healthy debate that will get San Bernardino back on its feet.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at avictoria@iecn.com or at (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Free community college not a waste of money

Re: “State of the Union: not so ready to compromise” (Editorial, Jan. 22). I disagree with the assertions made in your editorial that the cost of making community college free, as President Obama has detailed, “would be huge” and that “much of the money would be wasted on people who don’t want to be there.” In terms of community college students, I’ve been associated with the California community college system in one capacity or another for over 40 years and our students are hard-working, ambitious people who know that community college is the first step in allowing them to achieve the American Dream. To characterize them as other than what they are is both false and pernicious. In terms of cost, the total cost for this program would be $6 billion per year, which is one-fifth of 1 percent of the total federal budget, or about what we spent for one week in Iraq. The program will pay for itself, as the total cost of $7,600 per student over two years will be repaid eight times over in $67,000 worth of taxes from $259,000 in increased lifetime earnings, a 782 percent return in investment. The program is already paid for in that President Obama’s 2011 student loan program will repay $68 billion over a 10-year period and this proposal will cost $60 billion.

Donald L. Singer,

Redlands Board of trustees member San Bernardino Community College District

Housing programs help homeless population

As a volunteer in a housing for homeless organization, I’m pleased to see San Bernardino County collaborate with community-based organizations to provide housing for the homeless population. Many organizations have adopted the “Housing First” model, promoted by the National Alliance to End Homeless. Having the stability of a permanent home is often the springboard into reintegrating into society, finding work and starting a new life. Advertisement Another beneficial program to help prevent homelessness is Rapid Re-Housing, which provides individuals and families with temporary financial assistance to pay for rent. Often what causes homelessness can be an unexpected, expensive car repair or medical bill; causing some people to choose between paying rent and securing transportation to work. These programs coupled with services, including job training, financial planning and mental health services, can help the homeless population achieve stability and self-sufficiency and remain in their homes.

Erica Youngblood, Chino Hills

Illegal immigrants must go to back of line

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrats are allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses even though they are law-breakers. It’s caused a tremendous burden on the Department of Motor Vehicles and an extremely long waiting time for DMV services. Additional employees have been hired and business hours increased to accommodate this. This is also a burden on the California taxpayers. The DMV should do what Obama proposed regarding his amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. He said any illegal applying for legal status must go to the back of the line behind those who have done things legally and properly. Makes sense. It would ease the inconvenience for legal citizens doing business at the DMV. DMV should require illegal immigrants go to the back of the line and legal citizens go ahead of them.

Dave Van Buren, Highland

2015 State of the Union Recap: President touts “middle-class economics”

Yazmin Alvarez

There are a few topics I don’t necessarily touch on or feel the need to spark a conversation about: politics, religion and money.

The way I see it, to each is their own.

But it’s only fitting that I bring up President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address.

Tuesday night, he delivered his sixth address and I’m positive there’s plenty that people will be debating about.

But not here.

I’m simply going to recap his prepared remarks for those who didn’t catch the SOTU. In fact, for those interested, they can head over to www.whitehouse.gov and watch the hour-long address.

A few things he touted, “middle-class economics,” and how Americans have rebounded after the worst economic crisis, proposals to offer new child tax credits, raise the minimum wage, extend paid family leave and make college more affordable.

“It has been, and still is, a hard time for many,” President Obama said. “But tonight, we turn the page.”

A post on NPR.org—State Of The Union Primer: What President Obama Proposed— Wednesday morning following the address helps recap “middle-class economics”:

“Obama’s budget proposal will call for a number of new and expanded tax credits to help working families. He also wants Congress to require paid sick leave for the 43 million American workers who don’t already have it. And because many jobs now require some form of higher education, Obama wants to let anyone attend community college for free, so long as they keep their grades up and graduate on time.

The president suggests paying for these proposals by raising the top tax rate on capital gains to 28 percent, and extending it to cover inherited wealth. The White House says 99 percent of the additional taxes would be paid by the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans…”

In response to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, Representative Pete Aguilar, who was joined by Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson for the State of the Union address, released the following statement:

“While I agree with President Obama that we have made progress getting the nation’s economy back on track, the Inland Empire still has a long road toward economic recovery. As San Bernardino County families continue struggling to make ends meet, we need policies that create jobs, strengthen the region’s economy, and make sure families can keep more of their hard-earned money.

“That’s why I applaud President Obama’s proposals to make the economy fairer for middle class families by raising the federal minimum wage and making the tax code more fair for middle class and low-income families – proposals that will put more money in the pockets of hard-working Inland Empire residents.

“For too many families, the cost of pursuing higher education is a major obstacle to achieving the American Dream. That’s why I strongly support the President’s proposal to offer two years of free community college. This proposal will enable thousands of local students to achieve their dreams and increase the educational attainment of our region. I look forward to working to make this initiative a reality.”

A video, along with remarks by the President of the 2015 State of the Union delivered Jan. 20 can be viewed at www.whitehouse.gov.

~ Yazmin Alvarez is a reporter with Inland Empire Community Newspapers and can be reached at iecn.yazmin@gmail.com.

Freedom of speech sometimes silenced

We can be thankful that our government doesn’t deny us freedom of expression. Nevertheless, there are plenty of self-appointed commissars among us who consider it their mission to be the judge of what is allowed to be discussed and what is not. The sad result is that anyone who questions, for example, our nation’s prevalent religion or who dares to point out the moral blemishes that have tarnished our history is immediately silenced. A personal example: For years I belonged to an amateur writers’ group — until one day when I presented an essay with a secular theme, and was unceremoniously invited to leave. Later, when I joined another writers’ group, their teacher cautioned me not to present anything that reflects secularism, or is in any way critical of religion or of its leaders. I noticed, however, that several other writers in the group regularly presented essays extolling their Christian faith with nary an objection, but plenty of praise. I was dumfounded! This, in an organization of creative writers? This, in a country whose laws protect freedom of expression?

David Quintero, Monrovia

Keystone XL pipeline will create few jobs

Perpetuation of ignorance? I know the newspaper has to take all kinds of opinions, but there should be a reality check somewhere. And while I know the election loss of the Tea Party to Congressman Pete Aguilar still stings, it shouldn’t blind them to the facts: At most, building the pipeline will add 2,000 construction jobs for the short time it is being built, but no more than 50 after that (none of which in our area, by the way), and the only oil that we would be guaranteed to be able to have in the United States is that which potentially leaks from the pipeline once it is built. It is specifically going to shorten the route from Canada, which will obviously benefit, to the ships taking it to the OPEC countries who sell it to the world and thus benefit, but no impact on jobs in our area and no impact on the price of gas. Let’s have honest dialogue on these important issues.

Bud Weisbart, Fontana

Have those ‘difficult conversations’

Jamie Foxx and all the other publicity-seeking celebrities who want to have the “difficult conversations” about police shootings need to have those “difficult conversations” in the black communities and leave the rest of us alone, until it is fixed where it is “broken,” in the black neighborhoods. Fix the situations through truth, ethics, attitude and pure, simple honesty. Have that “difficult conversation” with those blacks with “attitude,” blaming others while they choose a life of crime and shame instead of education. All of you actors and entertainers need to go to your black inner city communities and get down and real and put the blame and responsibility where it belongs, on very bad choices in life. Stop the blame game. Stop attacking white people, successful people, educated people and yes, the rich. There is plenty of creativity, money and hard work and dedication to go around. Join, don’t destroy, the successful. Why don’t all of you rich celebrities go to Ferguson right now and help all of the innocent store owners who lost everything in the aftermath of the “angry” outside agitators.

Carol Schlaepfer, Pomona

Freedom of speech is a truly enigmatic question

I don’t think free expression is the problem. Interpretation is. Information can be changed, paraphrased or misquoted on purpose to get the public to believe anything. Politicians do it all the time. They don’t directly answer a question but rather verbally roam around their answer making you think they said something they didn’t. In the case of the concern in France the intent of the messages was to be of humor but that is not the interpretation as seen by the Islamic world. This says that free expression isn’t really free. By your own admission on the Opinion page: “We welcome letters on all issues of public concern. All are subject to editing and condensation and they can be published only with the writer’s true name.” Some of my letters have been edited and condensed resulting in loss of my true meaning. In the art world, putting obscene and pornographic pictures and videos out to the public is a right, albeit not politically correct. There is a big fear of expressing oneself when criticizing government leaders and procedures — fear of being labeled as subversive. On the job we are told to not express some thoughts as being cause for trouble-making. The right of free speech is enigmatic — some subjects acceptable in some areas and frowned upon in others. I feel free to express myself but I also realize I have to accept what the listener thinks that is. I think the question to ask is, What is free expression?

Sally Wieck, Baldwin Park

 

 

Can Community College Systems and Infrastructure Handle Free Tuition?

Rachel Kanakaole

The conversation President Obama’s domestic policy chief, Cecilia Munoz, is referring to is one that we are all familiar with: access to quality education. This extended conversation, which continued today with the president’s speech at Pellissippi Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, includes President Obama’s new proposal to make the first two years of community college completely free for students looking to transfer, or to get an associates degree or technical job training.

The president’s proposal, America’s College Promise, is looking to build a shared responsibility between the federal government, states, colleges. and students across the country to reexamine and reinvest in our education systems. Modeled after similar plans currently being adopted by states such as Tennessee, community colleges offering programs that fully transfer, or provide a degree or job training would be eligible for funding from the federal government to help make tuition free for students. The program would apply to half- and full-time students who maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA and make “steady progress” towards their goals. What exactly “steady progress” means remains to be clearly defined, along with many other details, such as where the federal funding will come from. President Obama says he will release those details in his State of the Union address on January 20.

Even without all of the specifics, I can say that as a current community college student, access to and affordability of classes is crucial in determining whether or not I will graduate in a timely manner. However, it is not solely lack of money that hinders us students from being able to complete a program in two years, but a combination of multiple infrastructural issues such as course offerings, classroom space, and most importantly, proper guidance to navigate the complex systems that are the basis of the college itself. America’s College Promise is not only aiming to provide the always-needed financial assistance, but also requiring colleges to adopt “promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes,” such as the successful Accelerated Student in Associates Program (ASAP) at the City University of New York. Programs such as ASAP provide much needed resources such as guidance, counseling, and schedule planning, which are all crucial components to graduating on time.

The Obama administration believes adopting research-backed programs, like ASAP, nationwide, will provide students with the additional help needed to successfully complete their education in two years. While in theory, the blanket adoption of specific programs such as these would benefit some students in some states, it most likely would not benefit all students in all states. Take my campus, San Bernardino Valley College, which is located in the bankrupt city of San Bernardino in Southern California. What works for the population in Knoxville, Tennessee will not necessarily address the needs of students 2,000 miles across the country that are from very different economic, social, and cultural backgrounds. It could also add extra pressure on already stressed community college systems by forcing college administrators, faculty members, and students to learn and navigate yet another assistance program on campus. It seems redundant to force a community college that already has counseling services, academic advisors, and multiple assistance programs of their own to adopt additional programs, instead of encouraging better technical and skills training for those already employed on their campuses in areas such as counseling, advising, and educational planning. Many schools already provide the pathways for that type of guidance and counseling to occur, they just need to be reexamined and reinvigorated instead of ignored and replaced.

Another major question this proposal brings up is one of capacity. Again, using my community college as an example, with close to 13,000 students enrolled full-time, classroom space is already extremely limited, financially and physically. Schools would be pressured to create additional course offerings to accomodate higher enrollment, which is already an issue colleges across the country have had great difficulty with.

So, can America’s College Promise truly be fulfilled? I believe so, but not until a few critical components are reexamined and rewritten. The intention is there, but thankfully this is not a final proposal and is continuing to undergo development.

Rachel Kanakaole is the Chapter Head of the San Bernardino Valley Community College chapter of the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network and one of the New Chapters Coordinator for the Western Region.

Original publication credit to the Next New Deal: The Blog of the Roosevelt Institute

Remember God’s Prophetic Messages for which America’s Future Hangs?

Jesus through God said “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophesies. To me, this capsulizes much of what is expected of those who profess to be Christians. Some of the superfluous tangents we sometimes pursue are unbelievably unproductive. When the idolatries of such things as putting 1) money, 2) reputation and world renown, 3) selfishness and ease, 4) jealousy and envy, instead of taking responsibility for others (as we can) and for oneself and our actions; we are not following God and his first two commandments. And always remember, vengeance is only God and the Lord’s domain. Dignity and respect are words only, but they need to be followed by positive actions and words of all concerned. In my 76-1/2 years of living I have truly found it is more blessed to give and more rewarding than to receive. The carnal world of ego, vanity, false pride and foolishness, is far from the spiritual world. Righteousness (not self-righteousness) is the goal in dealings with others. Truth is the one thing that is a sure way to complete justice. If all of us could put others needs ahead of our own selfish and ulterior purposes, this world would be a better place to live in. I can’t help but think when God gave us his ten commandments through Moses, he was directing them to all earthly beings-not just a chosen few. Certainly Jesus talked in his Sermon on the Mount about “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, he was talking to the whole world. Far too many people in this world do not practice any of these sage teachings from the Almighty. Some secular-leaning human beings would say what I just said is just religious dogma. But to me it is just common sense before the harbinger comes true. For some it is hard to envision a God we cannot meet or see. Complete faith is hard at times; however, in my opinion, the secular world and the United States of America, in particular, could use some religious common sense.

John H. Peterson, Life-long Advocate of Racial and Cultural Harmony

San Bernardino

Re: “City Council Votes to Uphold Planning Commission’s Decision of Denying Largo CUP Permit”

I can’t understand the city council of Colton. It seems to me that they are aiming at the white race as to not putting in good companies and jobs to all of Colton, as was said at the last council meeting. They need only Latinos in this city? Well I have been here many years and thought it didn’t matter if I am white. I worked in the city and had a non-profit group of friends who helped out the south-side of Colton. No one complained about my race then but I guess with all the problems in MO, and LA, I should worry now. What a shame. Thank you Colton for waking me up.

Cindy Carrion, Colton, CA

Re: “Vibe Fitness owner strives to build healthy community”

I joined Gino’s boot camp in July last year. I have improved in many areas of strength and endurance. When I started I couldn’t do one push-up. I am doing 50 a day now. I lacked confidence in box jumps and this week I jumped more and higher then I ever thought I could. I started out dead lifting 30-35lbs and the other day I did sets of ten at 85lbs. I am growing in lean muscle and in confidence. THANKS GINO!

Whitney Shepherd, Bloomington, CA

 

2015: 900-plus new laws for California

By Yazmin Alvarez

California, The Golden State, and now home to more than 900 new laws for 2015—930 to be exact.

Some are obviously needed, while others could have people raising eyebrows.

Most of the laws took effect Jan. 1, but others don’t kick in until July.

Among one of the quirky ones includes recognizing an official state amphibian- the California Red-Legged Frog. Yes, that correct, a state frog. While a state frog croaks me up, I’m okay with it because he’s kind of cute, just look him up. Plus, it’s recognized by the federal government as a “threatened” species. So, save the frogs!

Now, let’s get into a few of the more serious ones.

Information about the new laws was collected from various published articles, including a Dec. 26 web article published by SF Gate Staff Writer Melody Gutierrez, a Jan. 6 web article published by Tauhid Chappell, Walt Gray of News10 ABC, a Jan. 1 web article published by Patrick McGreevy of the LA Times and a Jan. 1 article published by Chris Nichols of the UT San Diego.

Youth football practice: With the intent to reduce concussions and other brain injuries, AB 2127 limits middle school and high school students to 90 minutes of full-contact football drills twice per week. The law also bans full-contact practice during the off-season and requires the California Interscholastic Federation to create a protocol for an athlete who suffers a concussion.

New consent law for sexual activity: Colleges and universities in California will be required to adopt policies against sexual assault that radically rewrite what constitutes consent as a condition of receiving state financial aid. Under the new law, the standard for consent to sexual activity in campus judicial hearings shifts from whether a person said “no” to whether both partners said “yes.” The law only applies to the burden of proof used during campus disciplinary hearings, not criminal proceedings.

Toy guns must be colorful: The new law requires toy manufacturers to make plastic guns in bright colors so law enforcement can distinguish between toy firearms and real ones.

“Selfie” protections: Revenge will come at a price for those who post private naked photos or videos of someone without his or her consent. The new law extends privacy protections to all individuals who take nude “selfies” intended to be private. A law passed last year to offer “revenge porn” protections did not include selfies. Anyone who violates the new law by disseminating a protected image could be charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

In July, a second “revenge porn” law will allow a person whose naked image was shared online without his or her consent to file a civil suit for monetary damages against the perpetrator under a pseudonym in court.

Or, you can just keep things simple and keep your clothes on for photos. Just a thought.

New rules for student expulsions: Public schools can no longer expel students for defying teachers or administrators

That’s right, there is no typo there.

A student can no longer be expelled for willfully defying teachers or administrators at any level. And, if a student is in grade K-3, schools cannot suspend them student for misbehaving.

I’d like to hear what some teachers have to say about this new law.

So how much leeway do students have now before getting expelled? Well, if they pose a certain danger to other students, such as talking about violence, drug use, among a few.

One law still up in the air is the ban on plastic bags.

Opponents of the law have submitted signatures to place a referendum on the 2016 ballot. If enough signatures are deemed valid, the law will be suspended until an electoral vote.

Joan Williams snubbed again, this time by TV

While I watched the Rose Parade, I kept waiting to hear the story about Joan Williams. I always enjoy the informative commentary about each group and float. Alas, nary a word about Williams nor the reason she was on the float almost 60 years later than she should have been. Shame on the producers for not including her story. This wrong was not truly made right; it was made only half right.

Susan Marquez, Fontana

Tragic shooting of mother not the child’s fault

The death of 29-year-old Veronica Rutledge, the woman who was accidentally shot and killed at a Wal-Mart in Idaho by means of a concealed handgun when her 2-year-old son unzipped the handgun pouch, aimed at her, and pulled the trigger, is a case of “people don’t kill people, guns kill people.” Of course, this small child cannot be blamed for his mother’s death. He witnessed the adults around him using handguns all the time and he probably also saw her place her gun in her purse and zip the pouch closed. When she left him in her shopping cart with the purse, he was curious to imitate the actions of the adults, and so pulled out the gun and fired. Unfortunately, for the child and Rutledge, he aimed at her head and the gun killed her. The grandfather is correct; the child is not to blame. Nevertheless, his mother is dead because she was carrying a concealed weapon on that shopping trip with her son.

Leslie Soltz, Highland

Technology producing a decline in critical thinking

Over the past century, the number of hours college students spend studying has declined sharply. Meanwhile, most Americans, no matter their age, spend at least eight hours a day watching TV, a computer monitor or the screen of their mobile phone. In general, people are reading print less, including newspapers, magazines and books. Most youngsters read printed words only about seven minutes per day. College students admitted they didn’t know how to study. Little wonder considering they no longer read. They have grown up in the age of skimming — cursory reading, glancing at words and pictures on screens. They do their thinking with the TV on and perform a quick Google search while texting friends. The media revolution has rewired our brains to think and react purely on superficial levels. We are losing our capacity for deep thought.

George Campos, Ontario

Some historical facts misrepresented in ‘Selma’

How would the NAACP, Rep. John Lewis and the others defending the movie “Selma” react if it was Dr. King who wasn’t getting the credit he deserves? They would be justifiably angry not excusing it because it’s a drama not a documentary. While Dr. King was the face and leader of the civil rights movement in America in the 1960s, it was President Johnson who got what he was striving for turned into law. LBJ started well before Selma even though he knew what it was going to cost his party — losses it still suffers. Dr. King understood we are all in this together and denigrating the efforts of one to enhance the role of another does neither justice. It is doubtful he would be happy with this movie. Ava DuVernay, the director of “Selma,” told Rolling Stone magazine, “Every filmmaker imbues a movie with their own point of view. The script was the LBJ/King thing, but originally, it was much more slanted to Johnson. I wasn’t interested in making a white-savior movie … .” Her comment shows bias is an equal opportunity failing. With the racial tensions that still exist we didn’t need a movie about a “savior” — black or white — we need one that presents the facts. Those who lived through that period are a minority, one getting smaller every day. The misrepresentation of the role LBJ and other whites played just gives those unaware of the truth one more reason to be mad and there is too much anger already.

Chris Daly, Yucaipa

Taking issue with Claremont Nativity display

Once again, I have to disagree with Claremont United Methodist Church’s Nativity scene. Mary, Joseph and Jesus weren’t homeless, refugees or migrants. They were traveling because Caesar Augustus ordered a census be taken. Joseph, being of the line of King David, was required to return to his ancestral home of Bethlehem to be counted. The reason Jesus was born in a manger was because the inn was full, a kind person offered their manger due to Jesus’s imminent birth. Please note, this is not to take away from the humbleness of the situation and location of Jesus’s birth. A modern version might be: Joseph, being a carpenter, is required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to attend a safety seminar. However, when he and Mary arrive, they find all the hotels full. A kind local citizen offers his garage, or shed as shelter, where Jesus is born. As for David Allen’s idea of depicting the Holy Family and the Wise Men with their hands up, maybe instead, they could show the shepherds standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their staffs in hand ready to protect the Holy Family!

Derek Deason, Fontana

An Academic Overview: Existentialism and Its Relevance to Social Revolution (part two)

Anthony Victoria

In contrast to the fervent call to action put forth by the proletariat Marxists of the third world, Albert Camus found his meaning through a more extensive existentialist approach.

The renowned journalist, novelist, and philosopher remained a freelancer (both in profession and in thinking) in a time when many stood on the sides of either capitalism or socialism.

Camus was not one to shy away from formal criticism however. These are his writings about the Bandung group:

“The nations of the Bandung group could have saved a great European nation from slavery and death…But the Bandung group rapidly became realistic. Apparently it is easy to become an adult in History. Consequently, those nations must henceforth be judged as adults, on the basis of their deeds, without any indulgence. And their attitude towards the Hungarian massacre is inexcusable.”

Criticizing newly formed nation-states such as India and the Arab countries of turning the other cheek and not recognizing Soviet imperial aggression in Hungary, Camus critically points out that even those that claimed to be “neutral” during the Cold War had no interest in gaining true world peace.

Furthermore, Camus in his other essay, Create Dangerously pinpoints the very basis of his doctrine: “Every great work makes the human face more admirable and richer, and that is its whole secret.” Or take his excerpt from The Wager of Our Generation: “Every work presupposes a content of reality and a creator who shapes the container. Consequently, the artist, if he must share the misfortune of his time, must also tear himself away in order to consider that misfortune and give it form.”

Although he insisted he was not a philosopher, Camus often delved deep into overarching themes that not only presented socioeconomic issues in foreign policy, but the questions of the individual mind—the questions of freedom of expression, thought, and art. In the literal sense, to make art or to write in opposition of the status quo in many of the aforementioned powerful nation states meant to create dangerously.

Affluent attitudes had a stranglehold on the United States in the mid-Twentieth century and Baldwin, the novelist, essayist, and poet hit a hidden chord in the hearts and minds of Americans. In The Fire Next Time Baldwin’s literature does not focus on the specific policies or political factions of the time, but instead aims to address the need for both African Americans and White Americans to need each other.

“Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here, and become as joyless as they have become. It is this individual uncertainty on the part of white American men and women, this inability to renew themselves at the fountain of their own lives, that makes the discussion, let alone education, of any conundrum—-that is, in any reality—so supremely difficult. The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality—-for this touchstone can be only oneself…Therefore, whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves”.

The rewards of being a superpower meant that many white Americans had the privilege of owning a television set, a fancy car or a house, but for the people of color in the United States, sitting in the same diner or attending a University was still a distant reality. As Baldwin argues, people are not rushed to be equal to one another but they have the desire to want to be superior. As we analyze his essay today and make comparisons to present issues, one can reflect on his existentialist views. As he would say, privately we cannot stand our lives and we dare not examine them.

Additionally, our power and fear of change will bind people to the misery they cannot adjust to and hinder revolution. It is important then to understand Baldwin’s writings as a challenge to both the status quo and the people: to accept yourself for who you are can transform the very foundations of Western civilization and provide yourself the individual right to questions society’s foundations. ‘

Written for Professor Lloyd, History Professor at the University of California, Riverside.

Dear Future Leader and Supporters

Nothing brings me greater satisfaction than learning of your accomplishments. Your successes make all our years of effort worthwhile. We conclude the year by already planning for next summer’s program, our 31st summer leadership conference. We also bring the year to a close with a keen understanding of the funds necessary to deliver our program, and that is my main reason for writing to you today. I am tremendously grateful to our 100% volunteer staff, but, unfortunately, while they save us thousands of dollars, there are many needed services that cannot be taken care of through volunteer effort. For example, rent for next summer’s campsite is expected to cost us over $40,000, and buses will cost over $8,000. I am hoping the end of 2014 finds you in a position to make a donation, an investment in the program that made such a wonderful impact on your own life. Please know that we strive to bring honor to the sacrifices made by our staff and donors by making sure that we are good stewards of the monies donated to us. Every dollar, every single penny, goes directly to making our program possible. Your contribution is key to our ability to do that. I ask for your help to touch the lives of young people as we touched yours. You may send your contribution: INLAND EMPIRE FUTURE LEADERS PROGRAM C/O MICHAEL MONTAÑO CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER 6378 ANGELS PEAK DRIVE SAN BERNARDINO, CA 92407 IRS 501(c)(3) ID Number is #33-042-7435 I wish all of you continued success and much happiness throughout the new year. And, as always, I hope you will continue to share your good news with us. I genuinely enjoy hearing from former Future Leaders.

Dr. Tom

It’s not just for fun

The Internet is an enormous boon to society. Getting rid of it would be disastrous and radically slow down new ideas, innovations and scientific advancements. Those who think it’s just a way to retrieve football scores or find restaurants rapidly are not aware of its full capacity. Thousands of classical philosophy books and fiction are now online through Project Gutenberg. Millions of books are regularly downloaded from the library for e-readers. These are just the simpler uses. Every university encourages Internet research. For example, Pollak Library at Cal State Fullerton has thousands of scientific and educational journals online, available for rapid research. The data available for students to search is beyond the capacity of most physical libraries. With the click of the mouse, students and researchers can find articles at their fingertips from universities around the world. The Internet is the world’s largest library, communication system and encyclopedia rolled into one. In the future, we will become even more connected to what it offers. Our lives are impacted daily by the Internet by those providing services, from fire and police to city planners.

Bonnie Shirley Whittier

Movie studio should have used a fictitious country

As Americans, we value our rights to freedom of speech. But as Americans, we know that constitutional rights also require responsibility. No one denies Sony Pictures and the filmmakers their right to make the satirical film. But during the process in which the film was vetted and decisions to invest millions of dollars were made, did anyone question what was being done? As a responsible member of the global community, why make a satirical film about an existing country and assassinating an existing leader? Wouldn’t it have been better to have a fictitious Asian nation with a fictitious leader? People are intelligent and insightful enough to recognize satire and the unspoken. The beauty of using a fictitious country is that North Korea would have also identified itself and the filmmaker’s message would have been made. Moreover, if North Korea complained that it was the fictitious country, it would be publicly admitting its human rights violations and paranoia.

Gary L. Murph Bellflower

Sony had no other option

“The Interview” stirs up controversy as it reveals the entirety of many Hollywood films today: ludicrous, impractical and superficial. The trailer depicts a celebrity talk-show host accepting a CIA mission of traveling to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong Un, illustrated in the movie as the foolish and ignorant North Korean dictator. Sony Pictures had no other option but to cancel the release when their networking systems were hacked and North Korea threatened to launch a 9/11-style attack on theaters in the United States if the movie failed to be pulled from cinemas across the country. Many critics commented that the movie’s cancellation assaults our freedom-of-speech rights. Nonsense. Despite America’s exercise to free speech being inhibited, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the threats seriously.

Amanda Qiu Arcadia

 

New laws for employers in 2015  

Yazmin Alvarez

With the Christmas holiday now in the past and plans stirring on how to ring in the new year, many also should be preparing to implement policies to comply with a number of new California laws expected to go into effect in 2015, especially employers.

The new laws cover a range of points in employment, including wage and hour issues, paid sick leave and discrimination.

While a list of new laws are also coming to residents, employers should take time and review their current policies to ensure compliance for the new year, according to The California Chamber of Commerce.

Below is a brief overview from a Dec. 2 publication of The National Law Review and The California Chamber of Commerce of a few of most notable new laws affecting businesses in California. For a complete list of the policies taking effect visit, natlawreview.com or calchamber.com

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

– AB 1522 – The “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014” requires California employers to provide paid sick leave benefits to their employees, including all full-time, part-time, temporary, migrant and seasonal employees. Employers must provide paid sick leave to these employees if they work 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment. Under the new law, employees are entitled to accrue paid sick days at a rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers may limit the employee’s annual use of paid sick leave benefits to 24 hours or 3 days per year, and cap the accrual of paid sick leave to 48 hours or 6 days per year.

Expanded Coverage for Emergency Duty Leave

– AB 2536 – California protects employees from discipline or discharge for taking time off for performing emergency services as volunteer firefighters, reserve peace officers or emergency rescue personnel. However, the state previously limited the definition of “emergency rescue personnel” to those providing emergency services in government agencies, sheriff’s departments, police departments or private fire departments. The new law now expands the definition of “emergency rescue personnel” to include those providing emergency services as part of a disaster medical response entity sponsored or requested by the state.

New Statute of Limitations for Liquidated Damages for Failure to Pay Minimum Wage

– AB 2074 – Previous law required that a lawsuit to recover liquidated damages for minimum wage violations under California Labor Code § 1194.2 be filed within one year of the alleged violation. The new law amends Section 1194.2 to extend the statute of limitations period to three years.

Nondiscrimination: Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Persons

– AB 1660 makes it a violation of FEHA for an employer to discriminate against an individual because he/she holds or presents a driver’s license issued to undocumented persons who can submit satisfactory proof of identity and California residency. Such discriminatory actions will constitute national origin discrimination under FEHA.

These driver’s licenses are often referred to as “AB 60 driver’s licenses,” after the name of the bill passed last year.

AB 60 driver’s licenses are scheduled to start being issued on January 1, 2015.

AB 1660 clarifies that actions taken by an employer that are required to comply with federal I-9 verification requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) do not violate California law.

~California Chamber of Commerce list of new employment laws scheduled to take effect in 2015 can be found at www.calchamber.com.

~iecn.yazmin@gmail.com

Accentuating the Positive

Lyrics of a once popular song said that we should accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Many of our youth are engaged in great humanitarian endeavors, however, their good works are too often overshadowed in the news media by negative, sensationalized acts of barbarism. The elementary school scholars at Henry Elementary School in San Bernardino are engaged in a Global Studies program. Recently, 4th and 5th graders researched Global indigenous tribes around the world. They studied tribes such as The Awa in Brasil, The Matses in Brasil, The Wichi in Argentina, The Bushmen in Botswana, The Ogiek in Kenya, The Aboriginal people of Australia, The Batak in the Philippines, The Dongria Kondh of India, and the Siberian Tribes of Russia, among others. Each scholar presented a major power point film documentary of their research, complete with credits at the end of the film. The young scholars filmed, narrated, and operated all of their equipment. I was absolutely amazed! During the research, scholars found that many native people were in danger of having their lands destroyed. The scholars found a website on international tribal survival, and planned a “Tea for Tribes” to raise funds for tribes that are endangered due to deforestation and loss of resources. Donations were forwarded to help these less fortunate tribes around the globe. Our youth were giving instead of taking, providing food instead of drugs, making friends and collaborating instead of fighting. The young scholars were smiling and excited rather than sullen and bullying. Their skills and researched knowledge was absolutely “off the charts”! They deserve Kudos for the great humanitarian activities in which they are engaged. Congratulations to the young Henry Elementary School scholars for their sensitivity, to their superlative principal, Dr. Marcus Funchess, and to the great Henry staff, for truly Accentuating the Positive. They truly live up to their artistic expression, “We are smart, We are Intelligent, We are full of greatness!” Come on Adults, the children are leading the way. Let’s get on board, reach out and touch, and make this world a better place! We can!

Mildred Dalton Henry, Ph.D. San Bernardino

4,000 Attend Winter Wonderland, THANK YOU!

Good afternoon City Employees and Community Members, On behalf of the San Bernardino Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department, we want to take the time to thank you, for your time and support, for our first Winter Wonderland that was held on Saturday, December 13th. A tremendous undertaking, we had at least 400 volunteers, vendors & staff and an estimated 4,000 participants. And it truly was a Wonderful event. We are already working to make next year’s event bigger, more organized and, of course, more Wonderful :_) Our hope is that you will collaborate with us again and that you and your family have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. (To view more pictures and videos, please check out our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/sbparksandrecreation; you are also welcome to send pictures to Aviana, and she can share them).

Thanks,

Mickey Valdivia, Director & Aviana Cerezo, Community Recreation Manager Parks, Recreation & Community Services Department

New San Bernardino school police chief gets it

A police officer witnessing an adolescent assaulting another adolescent will make an arrest. San Bernardino City Unified School District police officers seek why the adolescent got into the fight. Did his father hit him that morning? Did his mother abuse him before school? What is going on with the student and how can the officers model good behavior and mentor for life success? Chief Joseph Paulino gets it: He knows adolescent mistakes can destroy a life, mistakes we can correct with mentoring and modeling good behaviors. Chief Paulino and San Bernardino City Unified School District board member Abigail Medina are working on school policing as a discipline separate from beat policing. Paulino and Michael Gallo, president of the San Bernardino school board, want to develop a program for troubled youths — those most likely to bully others, where staff mentor and model good behavior. The students, families and citizens of San Bernardino County are well served with Chief Paulino as the new school police chief.

Daved van Stralen, Loma Linda

Terrorists win when the U.S. caves to threats

Sure, we all fear terrorist threats stemming from Sept. 11, so what are Americans to do? Hide and give up our freedom? So we get these threats from our enemies and we pull the movie. Maybe this was a good move, but what’s next? Baseball games, the Super Bowl, Disneyland, flying on vacations, buying groceries, drinking water, and so on? Once these low-life terrorists see we back down and that Americans are giving up their freedoms, they will keep doing this and expanding on it. On top of that, we now have President Obama giving back terrorists to Cuba and kissing their hind ends. This country was built for standing up for what is right and we never backed down from doing the right thing. Now we have to give in to every whimpering threat and adapt to their lifestyle?

Steve Portias, San Bernardino

 

An Academic Overview: Existentialism and Its Relevance in Social Revolution (Part One).

Anthony Victoria

Human Civilization during the first half of the Twentieth century saw two major powers arise from devastating war destruction take part in a political and military standoff for global supremacy.

In spite of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States being softened as a result of Nazi Germany’s aggression in Europe, both nations were suspicious of one another’s actions subsequent to the Great War and preceding the Second World War.

Ideology such as McCarthyism that made accusations of subversion or treason without regard for evidence and isolationist foreign policy, such as the Warsaw Pact of Eastern Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of Western Europe arose due to perceived threats of military action coming from both sides.

Disillusioned by these ideas that transcended into neo-colonial and imperial actions across the continents of Africa, Asia, and the Americas, intellectuals such as French Philosopher Albert Camus, African-American author James Baldwin, and French poet Aime Cesaire wrote furiously and passionately about the issues that affected third world colonial societies, the Eastern Bloc nations of Czechoslovakia and Hungary (to name a few), and a segregated but “equal” United States.

The prominent ideas of democracy, progress, and civilization to these men were merely political propaganda aimed to cover the hate-filled racist and capitalist agenda that motivated the foreign policy of that era.

In contrast to the belief that the ideas would liberate oppressed peoples in developing regions of the world, the intellectuals were aware that an existentialist way of thinking carried much more significance in efforts to bring cultural liberation and social engagement to the forefront.

Whereas Cesaire denounced neocolonialism in Discourse on Colonialism through poetic lines that highlighted Western European hypocrisy, Camus and Baldwin wrote more analytical, theoretical prose works that analyzed race, class, and imperialism on a grander scale.

These works when compared to Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle render little dissimilarity. In fact, Vonnegut’s satirical novel can help one further understand existentialism . By addressing the issues of science, religion, and nation, in a more humorous matter, Vonnegut addresses the idea of existentialism by demonstrating the unnaturalness of scientific inventions and the arbitrariness of government and religion.

Cesaire in his essay begins by asking the overall question of what colonization fundamentally is.

For the communist party member, it was not the desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance, disease, and tyranny through the act of God or as an act of philanthropy, but “Christian pedantry” that laid the dishonest equations of Christianity=civilization and paganism=savagery.

Only “Abominable colonialist and racist consequences”, Cesaire wrote, “whose victims were to be the Indians, the yellow peoples, and the Negroes,” is the end result of colonial aspirations. In the broader sense, the author argues that no one colonizes innocently or with impunity.

Such a person or nation-state with that sense of power justifies colonization is already a sick civilization. By using Marx’s ideology of historical materialism to outline the “false consciousness” of the proletariat-colonized population of third world nations, Cesaire addresses capitalism as the institutional and ideological framework of the bourgeois class.

Cesaire argues that a capitalist society is able to impose the ideas it finds suitable for the working class.His solution, as stated in his essay, was for people “to see clearly and think clearly” to avoid its deception. His ideas were existentialist in the sense that it questioned the foundations of racism and colonialism and aimed to implement ideological foundations that were necessary in order to transcend from a colonized population to a “classless society”. In simple terms, revolution to Cesaire was the only way in which the proletariat could rise up and overcome the harsh reality of a tyrannical bourgeois society.

Despite many of Cesaire’s claims and ideas stemming from Marxist thought, the concept of writing about the conditions of the colonized inspired revolution around the world.The national movements of Vietnam and Madagascar, and July 26 movement in Cuba would demonstrate Cesaire’s writings had a lasting impression on the oppressed peoples of the world.

Written for Professor Brian Lloyd, professor of U.S. History at the University of California, Riverside.

Recognizing World War II Veterans

The Normandy regional government has created a medal for any living veteran of the Battle of Normandy (D-Day +100) or who participated in the reconstruction of Normandy after the war. We have been asked to assist in distributing the medals to those Veterans residing in the United States. If you have Veterans in your council whom you would like to recognize, I only need to know their name, and unit they were with (rank at the time would be good but not necessary). I will mail the medal and ribbon to your council for presentation. (picture attached). From working with these heroes nothing means more to them to have youth thank them and be aware of what they did. Having a medal presented by a scout with their thanks means a lot. I hope it will help you to continue to build relationships with organizations that also serve Veterans in your council. Each medal needs to be accounted for so I need the names before I send out the medals. Thank you for all you do, and I am proud to serve with you making a difference now and in the future.

Vincent P. Cozzone, Scout Executive/CEO Transatlantic Council, BSA​

Crossing guard in Highland an unsung hero

If your spirits need a lift, drive past the corner of Lynwood Way and Victoria Avenue in Highland, near the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino between (roughly) the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The school crossing guard at this corner will make you think you’re the person she’s been waiting to greet. She’s there every school day, whatever the weather. Greeting passing vehicles is only her “sideline.” Every child who goes through her intersection gets a smile, a pat on the back, a kind word, or all of these things. I often wonder how many children have brighter days because of her. I wonder if these students’ teachers are aware of how much more smoothly their days run because of her. I wonder if parents are aware of how much more smoothly their evenings run because of her. I wonder if she is aware of how many lives she affects. She is truly an unsung hero.

Loleta Cruse, San Bernardino

Disappointed about lack of transparency

find it very disappointing and disheartening to read that newly elected Mayor Richard De La Rosa, Councilwoman Summer Zamora Jorrin and Councilman Isaac Suchil dissented from voting against transparency. Isn’t that what a majority of Colton citizens want? Openness and transparency? And isn’t that why we voted for them? If you look deep into these elected officials, most of them worked under former Mayor Frank Gonzales, the king of hiring family. We don’t need or want nepotism. Yes, family members supposedly “volunteer” their services, but in the long run, they don’t do it for free. They eventually wind up getting hired to work for the city. This has to stop now before it spreads. A better way can be accomplished by randomly selecting a number of Colton residents on an invite from a registrar to serve on a commission or whatever is needed, regarding our city’s concerns.

Mario Flores, Colton

Cameras a distraction

Who will choose which officer wears the body camera? At one time there were cameras in patrol cars to no avail. Not that police officers shouldn’t wear body cameras, but I would hate to see an officer engage his body camera before he can draw his gun if he is in danger of being shot. If the camera, the officer and the alleged criminal work in unison with the camera showing the activities, it’s a positive piece of equipment, but if there is only one person being photographed — probably the alleged criminal — where is the fairness in this procedure? New training, new way of thinking and new procedures would be advantageous.

Lois Eisenberg, Valencia

Keep it simple, head out to Holiday Happenings

Yazmin Alvarez

As much as I’d like for my amazingly witty self to astound my fabulously fantastic avid readers with some insightful stellar writings for this week, I have some shocking news instead… I’ve got nothing.

Seriously.

I’m blank.

Sure I have plenty of things I’d like to spaz out about like the princess driver yesterday that was so busy reading her novel as she sped through a parking lot nearly squishing me into a pancake because well, she clearly mustn’t have any other free time to read than while driving, or the fact that I pay a hefty phone bill for service that sucks with AT&T and can’t get reception in any place surrounded with oxygen or can’t hook on to wifi because towers or whatever makes only my phone work are down (yes, I hope someone from the company comes across this).

I spent a lot of time the last few days thinking about what to bring you guys this week, and finally when I stopped thinking (yes, insert joke here) it came to me!

KISS. Keep it simple, stupid.

So instead of rambling on filling space with nonsense like I usually do, I’m sticking to the basics here and providing some information on a few can’t miss happenings this month throughout the area and wherever else comes to mind. Here you go, news you can use:

Dec. 16 Healthcare Enrollment

A free health care enrollment event sponsored by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West is scheduled in San Bernardino at St. Bernardine Medical Center, 2101 N. Waterman Ave.

The health fair will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is designed to help people sign-up for free and low-cost health coverage through Medi-Cal or Covered California.

For information on enrollment requirements call 888-920-4517.

Holiday Luau Luncheon

Put on your favorite Hawaiian shirt and join the Joslyn Senior Center for a fun, holiday spirited luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m, at the center 21 Grant Street in Redlands. Dan Damon will provide the entertainment and a delicious meal will be provided by Thomas Catering. The price is $5 per person with a patron card, $10 without.

Information and registration: 909-798-7550.

Dec. 18 Joy for Jackets

Coffee Nutzz in Rialto presents a holiday event free for the community. Children will have the opportunity to meet Santa, enjoy Christmas stories and several activities. The event runs from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at coffee shop, 119 E Foothill Blvd.

Information: 909-874-2222.

Dec. 20 Santa in Rialto

It’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s Santa arriving by helicopter.

The man of the season will fly into Rialto at Sunrise Church to visit with all the good boys and girls, ready to read their Christmas lists.

The free event begins at 2 p.m. but the line to meet Santa will start forming at noon and will close at 2:30 p.m.

Information: Call Cpl. Nelson at 909- 820-2515.

Dec. 26- Jan 1 Redlands on Ice

The Redlands Chamber of Commerce will host the first-ever ice rink in downtown for the holiday season.

The rink will be open for one week from noon to 10 p.m.

Special events, classes and open skate times will be available.

General admission prices: $12 per hour ages 13 and up, $9 per hour for children 12 and younger. Skate rental is $3.

Information: 909-793-2546.

~iecn.yazmin@gmail.com

Great strides made in ‘five percent’ role-model goal

Earlier this year, I was able to meet Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant at a book signing for his newest book “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism.” He noted a study by the University of Chicago and cited in Malcom Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” which said it only takes five percent of a community to act as role models to stabilize a community. Incredible. Only five percent of positive role models are needed for our young people to be inspired by, aspire to be and view themselves in a new, more positive way. I am a resident of Rialto (for more than 40 years), longtime employee of the Rialto Unified School District, parent of four RUSD high school graduates and grandparent of three students currently in RUSD schools. I believe we made great strides toward a five percent role model goal last month. Rialto Middle School and Kolb Middle School Robotics Clubs hosted the Inland Empire’s First Lego League Robotics Qualifying Tournament, which received participation from 11 schools in the region. We had over 70 mentors from ages 12 to 60 who assisted in our tournament and represented proudly the city of Rialto and Rialto Unified School District to our visiting teams. In addition to myself, the other three coaches from RUSD were William Patterson of Jehue Middle School; Shelly Gates of Kolb Middle School; Ron Kovich of Kolb Middle School. We had 13 coaches from competing schools that invested time and money to create a First Lego League team. RUSD Board Member Joseph Martinez and Thomas Haldorsen, the associated superintendent of personnel served as judge and referee. Ricardo Carlos of RUSD Communication Services kept up the social media posts, press releases, including picture-taking and interviewing student participants. Staff from Rialto Middle School included Ms. Mims Williams, Ms. Smalls, Ms. Yamoto, Ms. Capalla, Ms. Alva and Ms. Hetzer. Ms. Pool, Ms. Erickson and Ms. Richardson volunteered from Kolb Middle School. Eisenhower High School’s Waahida Manson and Anthony Marroquin are advanced science, technology, engineering and math students from Mr. Atkinsons High School STEM program. Teacher Sheri Garcia, and parent Dianna Mower represented Werner Elementary School. Other parent volunteers were Irene Mendoza of Jehue Middle School and Maria Rodriquez of Rialto Middle School. Thank you to all of the mentors and role models who participated. You made a difference to not only the youth in Rialto, but to youth visiting from throughout the region as well. Thank you for being a part of the five percent. I, and our students, appreciate you! I am Rialto Proud.

Rod Campbell, Rialto

Ramos misses the point

The district attorney missed the point and is perhaps campaigning too soon. Jon Stewart was talking about white cops killing black men. Although Stewart may be wrong about the cause of Dante Parker’s death, it fit in the category Stewart was referring. The only way I can consider the DA Ramos’ numbers is if he breaks them down into the same context alluded to by Stewart. How many of those 600 felony incidents involved a white cop vs. black man? How many of the 2,300 San Bernardino County peace officers who fell victim to crime was the result of a white cop v. black man? And I absolutely disagree with the DA’s assertion there is little care about the harm or death to our peace officers. Our community is still in full support of Officer Gabriel Garcia. And as tragic as that incident was, it was not a matter of white cop v. black men. C’mon Mr. District Attorney, play it right. There was no mass demonstration favoring the LAPD’s bad Officer Christopher Dorner. There was great empathy and support for the families and peace officers victimized by Dorner’s rampage. But there is also remembrance of Rodney King and there is a difference.

Norman E. Edelen, San Bernardino

Toll roads improve region’s transportation system

Toll lanes are very quickly coming to the 91 and 15 freeways in Riverside County and are the preferred alternative for the 10 Freeway expansion in San Bernardino County. Toll lanes are a resource-based decision and reflect the need for transportation improvements which are, as of yet, unfunded. The bottom line is that without toll lanes, you have fewer choices and less investment in the state highway system. Most toll roads establish new freeway lanes or routes, not requiring the conversion of existing lanes, and benefit those who don’t use them by taking cars off of the non-toll lanes. The alternative is to do nothing. Unless and until our highways are more adequately funded, the benefits of toll roads should be clear.

Paul C. Mim Mack, Ontario

All lives matter: Police brutality goes beyond race

Anthony Victoria

For months the hash tag, #blacklivesmatter has transcended out of our social network news feeds and into city street protests. Following the news that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, thousands of people all over the United States are now supporting the African-American struggle against police brutality and social, economic equality.

I understand the frustrations of the African-American community. They have every right to be disillusioned with the criminal justice system. After all, data shows that African-Americans make up approximately 1 million of the total 2.3 million prison population in the U.S. A study conducted by the Malcolm X Grassroots movement back in 2012 demonstrated that an African-American was murdered by law enforcement every 28 hours. The study further reinforces the argument that the darker your skin, the more likely you will become a victim of brutalization.

Despite all these facts and the reality of racism for people of color, I truly believe that the issue of police brutality and our nation’s constant struggle with the Military Industrial Complex goes beyond racial barrier lines. The more we make it an issue of black against white and vice-versa, we will further stray away from the multicultural communities that many of our predecessors fought for.

To an extent I agree that certain people of privilege, predominately white people of privilege, do not understand the plight of the black man. They do not understand their ancestor’s cruel role in history as the colonizers; people that were responsible for the Middle Passage, Indentured Servitude, the Three-Fifth Compromise, and the genocide of Native Americans.

It should not mean, however, that we should totally exclude our white brothers and sisters from the discussion. Although not in high numbers like African-Americans and Latinos, they have experienced brutality at the hands of police too.

It was just three years ago that people across our nation were upset that law enforcement officers had brutally beat a white homeless man in Fullerton. That man, Kelly Thomas, was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and was beaten so badly that many of the bones in his face were broken and choked on his own blood.

That same year in 2011 Kayvan Sabeghi, a 32-year-old veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, was beat and arrested by Oakland Police during an Occupy Movement demonstration. According to the San Jose Mercury News, while incarcerated at the Glenn Dyer Jail, the prison staff refused to help him while he lay on the floor vomiting from his injuries, unable to move and begging for help. Sabeghi eventually went unconscious in his jail cell.

Why did we not stand up and speak up then?

Whether it’s a social trend that has prompted the non-political average resident to cling on; whether it is the media’s propaganda tool to anger African-American’s; or if it is a racial matter that continues the legacy of large scale rioting in our nation is up for all of us to decide.

I have already made up my mind. I believe that #alllivesmatter and we should be doing the best we can to ensure that future generations do not live through this madness.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at avictoria@iecn.com or at (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Obama, politicians on the wrong track

President Obama and all politicians are on the wrong track. If you or I break the law, we can and should be prosecuted. What part of breaking the law don’t undocumented immigrants and politicians understand? And it isn’t five million; it is the total 11 million who broke the law by crossing our borders illegally. Australia had a similar problem and they passed a law months ago that if you illegally cross their border, you will never get to become a citizen. The past six months they have not had one undocumented immigrant enter the country. Case solved!

Ed Wentz, Colton

Unlawful employment

I realize that President Obama believes he can claim executive discretion in deciding which undocumented immigrants to deport or not. I don’t understand how he can OK the issuance of work permits for those he chooses not to deport. Existing law strictly forbids the employment (or aiding the employment) of undocumented immigrants, and from what I understand Obama’s executive order does not grant legal status, but only a temporary reprieve from deportation. How can he ignore (or change) the employment portion of the law?

Hardy Pruuel, Torrance

The do-nothing Congress

In his first two years in office, President Obama had a Congress with which he could have passed comprehensive immigration reform, but he and his Congress did nothing, instead. And now the president is trying to make the Republican-controlled Congress look like the bad guy, even though it is doing the same thing as a Democrat-controlled Congress once did in regard to immigration reform — that is, it is doing nothing! The best course of action for any Congress deadlocked on the issue of immigration amnesty is for the Congress and the president to only enact a “constitutional amendment” on the issue, which would then “pass on” the responsibility for approval (or not) of immigration amnesty directly to the states, which is where it rightfully belongs!

James M. Ammann, Whittier

Some who serve give more than they receive

Am I disappointed? You bet I am. The voters of San Bernardino voted to retain Charter Section 186, as is, mandated by the voters. Not surprising. Far be it from me to deny our police and firefighters a just salary and pension. Sure, they put their lives on the line to protect us. But when a city is struggling with bankruptcy, trying to make ends meet, and when funds are not there, why is it so offensive to negotiate salaries and pensions, at least until we recover? However, it occurred to me, we might need to do some soul-searching, here. Our troops lay down their lives for us, too. Not knowing, as they leave for overseas, whether they will see their families again. I don’t think their salaries or pensions are on their minds. More likely, it’s their families who are left behind that concerns them: Can they handle it alone? As they answer their call to duty they may be making the supreme sacrifice. I think that’s the word I am trying to use, “sacrifice” for the good of others. Remember, it’s more blessed to give than to receive.

Marion D. Bilek, San Bernardino

What if Ferguson race roles were reversed?

Try this thought experiment and be brutally honest — picture Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson as an African-American. Imagine all the facts as being exactly as before. Now ask if Wilson had a right to defend himself from a 300-pound man who had just punched him in the face and tried to wrestle his gun away? Eight percent of police officers killed in the line of duty are murdered with their own weapons by criminals who were just moments before unarmed. Police are trained not to let anyone dangerous get too close. Michael Brown outweighed Wilson by almost 100 pounds, had just attacked him, and was running at him. Anyone in similar circumstances would have defended themselves. What happened was tragic, but if either man was a different color, the rioters would not be stealing goods or burning innocent people’s businesses in the name of so-called justice.

Jeff Hoy, Redlands

 

University of California may no longer be affordable for students

Anthony Victoria

By the time you read this, a critical decision that has implications of raising tuition by five percent for University of California students for the next five years will have been decided by the system’s board of regents.

While UC President Janet Napolitano believes the proposed hike is the result of the California government’s short change to the state’s premier research university system, lawmakers like Governor Jerry Brown and Senate pro-tem Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) shared sentiments of opposition and have presented alternatives to the proposal.

Disagreements like these will continue to exist in California as long as the economic climate continues to fluctuate.

However, considering that the state has plenty of money to fund prisons ($9.8 billion) and university officials seeming to always have room to raise their chancellor’s salaries, it is unfair to place the burden on your top consumer: the adolescents and young adults of California. We should not be asking working class and middle-class families to sacrifice more money.

UC undergraduate tuition (currently at $12,192 a year) is about eight times more than what it was in 1989. Add on campus fees, books, housing, associated student fees etc., you’re looking at about an average of over $28,000 a year.

In September, the UC regents hiked up the pay of officials at Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Merced and Riverside campuses of up to 20% and awarded Irvine’s new chancellor up to 24% more than his predecessor.

Do you see the problem?

In the 1960’s California introduced its Master Plan for Higher Education that included the Community College, California State University, and University of California systems. In that plan, educators envisioned free or low-cost tuition for the state’s students that would eventually become educators themselves or community leaders. We have dramatically moved away from that vision and are moving more in towards privatization.

And despite Gov. Brown’s and other lawmaker’s plans to increase funding (most notably Brown’s plan to increase the state’s contribution to 4% a year over the next two years), for UC President Napolitano, it is still not enough.

Even more controversial is that student leaders were not involved in the conversation. A recent editorial in the Daily Californian mentioned that the decision was made in the absence of many student leaders across all ten campuses. UC officials are handicapping their students.

In the end, all involved parties will suffer greatly: UC officials will be at the negative end of a financial and educational debate, California lawmakers will be accused of not prioritizing education, and most importantly, students and their parents will have to pay more money for tuition, taking out more loans, and falling further into debt.

By 2020, the year my little sister is projected to graduate from high school and pursues her dream of attending UCLA, my father (who is on the cusp of retirement) is possibly looking at a $15, 563 bill for tuition. Like Papa, I’m hoping Margaret does well enough to garner scholarships and grants to help her pay for school.

Not everyone will have that same fortune. The Master Plan is no longer a leading cause.

Food trucks taking a bite out of local businesses

What is with all the support we are giving to this monthly food truck feeding frenzy San Bernardino puts on? We have restaurants closing all around us and now we want to support this and more money being taken in from businesses out of town? Who is spearheading and supporting this? We have enough problems with the casino undercutting and driving the closing of our local businesses. Now this. What is wrong with the people who run this city? They need to start learning to run it like a business.

Steve Portias, San Bernardino

Incentives could help improve voter turnout

Many years ago, I would forget it was election day and would not vote. Remember cars riding up and down streets with a bullhorn blaring messages? Well, that might wake some of us up. While that may be one of the many reasons so few people vote today, maybe a little bribing will help get voters to the polls. How about a free coffee? The “I Voted” sticker could have something to indicate they get a free coffee. There might be other businesses that would offer incentives, from free meals and merchandise to discounts on whatever. If getting more people to the polls would make this a safe city, I think that would benefit the many businesses that would participate. I also wonder if transportation is a factor in the low voter turnout. Maybe all they need is a ride to the polling place.

Liz Lopez, San Bernardino

A cancer patient knows what decision involves

What real choices do you have when handed a terminal diagnosis? The religious fanatics will argue that only God can choose, so they’ll pray for a miracle to happen and a cure. If this God they speak of can help, why did he allow the person to acquire the illness in the first place? As a cancer survivor, I believe in the dignity of the subject. What good is the quality of life when it starts to dissipate in terminally ill patients? My belief would be that it’s best to stay around as long as possible. However, when I’ve reached the point of no return, I’ll depart this world on my terms. The state should have the right-to-die law. If there is a forgiving God, which he’s supposed to be, he’ll welcome me into his kingdom.

Lou Solo, Gardena

Alcohol abuse leads to domestic violence

It is pretty well known that spousal and child abuse, called domestic violence, is a major problem in the nation. Recent cases of professional athletes abusing women and children are but a tip of the proverbial iceberg. What is not generally recognized is the spark that triggers such violence. It is booze! Alcohol drinking is conservatively estimated in 70 percent to 80 percent of domestic violence cases in the nation. An article on domestic violence by Caroline Knapp was published in the New York Times in 2000, which emphasized alcohol drinking’s heavy involvement in such violence. The reason we tend to ignore the “elephant in the room” is because we (the 70 percent of the population that drinks alcohol) like what it does for us. We seek the euphoric mood swing. However, in far too many cases, the sedation of repressed emotions, specifically, anger, sparks violence, usually perpetrated on those we live with. Legislators and anger-management program leaders who endeavor to reduce domestic violence need to seriously address excessive alcohol use (addiction) among violators or they will continue to spin their wheels.

Mike Kennedy, San Bernardino The author is a former alcohol program administrator and instructor at San Bernardino Valley College.

Bible teachings as important as Holocaust

Enough on the Holocaust already! There’s always going to be people who will never accept the fact that such a horrific event as the Holocaust could ever have taken place, and no matter what you may try to teach people about it, some will never accept it as fact. The Anti-Defamation League and devout Jews are insistent on a mandatory teaching of the Holocaust, yet these same people do not believe in Jesus Christ as being the salvation of mankind. His birth, life, ministry and crucifixion are well-documented in a book put together by people who witnessed events that happened, it’s called the Bible. If they want to educate people on the Holocaust, then in turn they should be willing to be educated on the life of Jesus Christ.

Peter Paddison, Hesperia

It’s getting cold out, bundle up or you’ll get sick — or will you?

Yazmin Alvarez

Now that we’re in the middle of November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, there’s finally some relief from the heat—finally.

November equals cooler temperatures, which equals hearty down home cooking and hot chocolate, warm cookies— boy am I ready to eat.

But don’t get too excited. This piece isn’t about Thanksgiving or even food (c’mon I’m not always that predictable), it’s about seasons.

Fall and winter and the flu season, actually.

And if you grew up hearing the same thing I did, and still do, you’ve heard it a million times:

Don’t go outside without a jacket, you’re going to get sick. Don’t go to sleep with your hair wet, you’re going to get sick. Cover up, you’re going to get sick. I can go on and on… But do cold temperatures really get us sick?

No, well not entirely, according to a CNN report published Oct. 31.

Yes, it’s common that we tend to get sick more when the weather gets colder, but it isn’t actually the cold weather that causes the common cold. According to the report, it’s what we do when it gets cold out.

“When the weather turns cold, we all run indoors, where air is recycled and we’re often in close quarters with other people and viruses. We all sneeze on top of each other,” says Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, chief of the Dr. James J. Rahal Jr. Division of Infectious Disease at New York Hospital Queens, in the report. Hmm…”we all sneeze on top of each other”… sounds like germs to me.

Yes, viruses cause colds.

Here’s her explanation:

“Dry and cold conditions are probably more high-risk situations for viruses because of dry mucosa,” adds Segal-Maurer. The mucosa, she says, is what lines your trachea, the back of your throat and your sinuses. Viruses invade the mucosa and start growing, causing your cold.

And that’s viruses — as in, plural. The common cold isn’t just one type of virus: When you say “I’ve got a cold,” that could mean you have one of many bugs.”

And here’s the explanation from a Fox News report published Nov. 12:

“The truth lies in how the weather affects colds after you’re infected,” says Dr. LeeAnna Lyne from Susquehanna Health Medical Group in Pennsylvania.“Cold weather causes decreased blood flow in the nose, ears, hands, etc., to keep the heart and brain protected. This causes dryness and a decreased ability of the nose to filter pathogens like viruses,” making you vulnerable and aggravating already-present symptoms.

So my take on all this—keep it simple folks—just wash your hands and don’t go around sneezing and wiping your face then shaking hands and touching things, for everyone’s well-being. And of course, a few tips on how to stay healthy:

1. Practice cleanliness and good hygiene. Wash your hands often and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds to wash away germs. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes to prevent the spread of pathogens you may have picked up on a doorknob or countertop.

2. Dress for the conditions. While stepping outside without your coat or with wet hair won’t give you instant pneumonia (sorry, moms), it can stress your immune system or worsen existing symptoms. Dressing warmly protects you from this increased susceptibility and from the risks of frostbite and hypothermia if you become stranded in a storm, for instance.

Visit www.foxnews.com/health 6 ways to combat the health effects of cold weather to read the rest of the tips.

Please Join Us for the 4th Annual Reception of the George Brown Legacy Project 

My late husband George Brown devoted his life and career to equal justice, education, and public service. These 3 themes stand out in 3 leaders who have built a better Inland Region.

Please join me on:

Sunday, November 16, 2014 at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art, 217 S. Lemon Ave. in Ontario from 5pm to 7pm., for our 4th annual reception of the George Brown Legacy Project to celebrate their contributions and one other person special to George and me:

George knew this bipartisan trio well. Their endeavors for civil rights, public schools, and responsive local government in Riverside and San Bernardino counties carry on his mission. Patricia “Corky” Larson, former Riverside County supervisor and Palm Springs school board member. Lois Carson, board member, San Bernardino Valley College Foundation. Sam Crowe, attorney and school board member in Ontario. Please consider joining our host committee for this event.

To join or become a sponsor, please call 323-669-9999.

Tickets for this reception are $50.

On Sunday, we will also pay tribute to the public service of longtime San Bernardino County leader and outgoing Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod. She joined myself and former Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter, at the groundbreaking for the George Brown Elementary School, now in its second year of shaping a new generation of Explorers in San Bernardino. Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter The mission of the George Brown Legacy Project is to establish the archives of the late visionary Congressman George Brown at the University of California, Riverside and ensure their use by future generations of scholars, reporters, and leaders in science, labor, business, and public service. http://library.ucr.edu/view/georgebrown I really hope you plan to join us and look forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,

Marta Brown, Steering Committee Member, George Brown Legacy Project

Congressman Elect Aguilar’s Statement Honoring Veterans Day

Congressman Elect Pete Aguilar (CA-31) released the following statement in honor of Veterans Day: “As Americans it is our responsibility to honor the tremendous bravery and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans each and everyday by providing them with the highest quality healthcare, job training and transition counseling when they return home. But Veterans Day is a special day when we can come together as a community to say thank you, highlight their service and honor the men and women who have put it all on the line to fight for our values and keep us safe. “This Veterans Day, as a newly elected member of Congress, I am pledging to honor the veterans in San Bernardino County by doing all that I can and working with others in Congress to improve the VA and fight for jobs. Today, tomorrow and from now on, let’s make a commitment to keep the promises we have made to our nation’s veterans.”

Congressman Elect Pete Aguilar (CA-31)

Some just don’t get it

Right-to-die legislation opponents aren’t terminally sick. How could they possibly know what a person of sound mind who is very sick is going through as she or he requests the right to die instead of being hooked up to machines and experiencing so much pain? Give that person that right!

Ed Wentz, Colton

Paying attention while driving saves lives

It’s unlikely the results of the current study on distracted officers will differ from previous ones. Repeated studies have been done and the findings are always the same: multi-tasking is a fantasy. It was recently shown that using a cell phone — hands-free or not — produces an accident rate similar to driving after drinking. It’s not what your hands are doing, but what your mind is. The very best such as a skilled pilot, after a lot of training and experience, is able to quickly switch between tasks, but while they are talking on the radio they are not flying the plane. A Pennsylvania state police sergeant made the point to me (I was dating his daughter in the days before seatbelts) and my friends. Driving is a full-time job. Turn the radio off and open the windows at least a crack so you can hear what’s going on outside. Keep your head on a swivel and stay with traffic. You are operating a multi-thousand pound hunk of steel and hitting something at 35 mph is the same as falling off a three-story building.

Chris Daly, Yucaipa

Interactions with San Bernardino’s homeless population

In recent months, photographer Fabian Torres has been assisting homeless people in the city of San Bernardino, providing them with water and other essential things needed to survive on the streets. I was able to tag along one day and speak to these people. After all, just like us, they need Love and Security.

Name: Junior (refused to give his legal name)

Gender: Male Age: 23 Hometown: Morongo, California.

Date of testimony: September 19, 2014.

Since this gentleman may risk apprehension as a result of speaking to us about his situation, we have decided to not provide his personal identity. Therefore, we will address him as Junior.

Junior was released from a California State Prison in January. Due to his parole, he is not allowed to return back to his hometown of Morongo, which is an unfortunate decision that has left him without a home. He said he feels that he’s being forced to be a homeless resident in the city of San Bernardino as a result of the city’s lack of support.

“I have ways to get a job back home,” he said. “I have a family who can support me, but they just won’t let me go home.”

“You have all these advocates speaking about how they can help the homeless, but nothing is being done,” Junior said.

Junior said it saddens him to witness families go through the same thing he experience’s because he believes being homeless shouldn’t come down to an ultimatum.

“I’ve seen people out here and they have to choose between either paying the bills or having food,” said Doe. “It shouldn’t come down to that.”

When asked why he was sent to prison, he replied by explaining simply that he was hanging out with the wrong crowd.

“I dropped out of high school and got a job,” he said. “Things were going good for me and I let that all go by making a mistake. Where are my homies now? They don’t know you. You don’t exist to them when you’re in there locked up.”

The 23-year-old said despite his situation, he is grateful to have the company of his fiance to get him through tough times. He looks to get back on his feet by working for CalTrans. He is expecting a call back from them soon.

“Wisdom is what you experience,” he said. “I know I’ve made mistakes and I have to learn from them.”

The road back to recovery will be an arduous one. Junior is on parole for five years and cannot return back to Morongo until he completes his term.

Name: Adrian

Gender: Male

Age: Unknown

Hometown: San Bernardino, California.

Date of Testimony: September 19, 2014.

As we walked down the steps of the Radisson Hotel, we noticed a man sitting by himself on the steps that lead into the abandoned Convention Center. Fabian approached him and asked if he was thirsty.

The man–who appeared to be in his 40’s (or even 50’s)was friendly–acted in a coy-like fashion, but nonetheless accepted Fabian’s water bottle donations.

We introduced ourselves and we began to speak about the city a bit. I mentioned how it seemed like we were in the shadows (which I realize now didn’t make any sense, but whatever).

The gentleman, whose first name is Adrian, mentioned some sort of model which has been on display in the city before. He said witnessing that was the fondest memory he’s had of San Bernardino.

Adrian seemed a little bittersweet about the current state of the city. He mentioned Omnitrans’ SBX and said he thinks the city is improving slowly. However, he went on to compare the city’s downtown area to a scene in “I am Legend.”

We laughed a little, which is always good. We hope Adrian is making the best out of his tough situation.

“I’ve been in and out of shelter’s since 1996,” he said. “I’m just living day by day.”

Paying attention while driving saves lives

It’s unlikely the results of the current study on distracted officers will differ from previous ones. Repeated studies have been done and the findings are always the same: multi-tasking is a fantasy. It was recently shown that using a cell phone — hands-free or not — produces an accident rate similar to driving after drinking. It’s not what your hands are doing, but what your mind is. The very best such as a skilled pilot, after a lot of training and experience, is able to quickly switch between tasks, but while they are talking on the radio they are not flying the plane. A Pennsylvania state police sergeant made the point to me (I was dating his daughter in the days before seatbelts) and my friends. Driving is a full-time job. Turn the radio off and open the windows at least a crack so you can hear what’s going on outside. Keep your head on a swivel and stay with traffic. You are operating a multi-thousand pound hunk of steel and hitting something at 35 mph is the same as falling off a three-story building.

Chris Daly, Yucaipa

More information needed before annexing land

The council and development department of San Bernardino are facilitating a developer with a proposed 379.2-acre project to the detriment of residents. The proposed Spring Trails development is currently located on county land that needs to be annexed to the city in order for high-density housing to be built in the development. This is necessary because the county zoning for this state identified high wind/high fire zone is for one house per five acres. This area has lost homes a number of times during the Santa Ana fire seasons. The City Planning Commission turned this subdivision down twice before the City Council voted to accept the tract plans which don’t have ingress or egress roads into or out of the tract. Constituents living in the county area to be annexed and surrounding city parcels have expressed their concerns that this is a bad development for this area at this time. On Nov. 3, the City Council will be voting to send the planned development to LAFCO for annexation from the county to the city. If these 379 acres are annexed, the city will be responsible for fire protection, policing and weed abatement. The city areas presently do not get any services for weed abatement or maintenance of West Meyers Road, but the county has maintained the roadway and weed abatement in the county areas. During rain events, the county has heavy equipment on West Meyers Road, controlling mudflows coming from the county parcels, which in turn facilitates the safe ingress and egress for both city and county residents in the area. A bankrupt city can’t afford more areas of responsibility for services and protection of citizens, especially large tracts of rural land prone to fire and flooding in the north end of San Bernardino. I ask the City Council to do the right thing and not promote this area for annexation until the developer can show a responsible infrastructure for the site, and until the city has the resources to protect the residents living here. I live on West Meyers Road next to the future development. I lost my home in the 2003 Old Fire. I am concerned that our City Council is making a commitment that includes maintenance and safety they are currently unable to meet and will be unable to meet with the annexation of the 379 acres, putting the lives of residents at risk.

Richard Kaplan, San Bernardino

 

SoCal Edison appeasing the large energy users

It seems the main reason Edison is proposing to revamp its residential rate structure is to appease the large (residential) energy users. It uses terms like ensuring that “large usage customers aren’t paying more than their fair share” and “High-usage customers have shouldered most of new costs …,” etc. However, Edison claims the proposed change to lower the rates for high energy users, would encourage energy efficiency. Edison has its logic backwards. You are not promoting energy efficiency when you lower rates. By lowering rates, you are encouraging users to consume more. It does not do anything to discourage waste. You keep rates high so users will be wise in their energy usage to avoid wasting their hard-earned money.

Charles Blankson, Fontana

War is not the answer to a peaceful existence

Too bad that Americans are afflicted with short memories and have forgotten the Vietnam War. Has war become a habit in our collective thinking, and we can’t imagine any other solution to resolve international challenges? After 9/11, most Americans should’ve agreed to pursue terrorists as criminals, which is what they are. Instead, they endorsed military action against Afghanistan and Iraq, neither of which had anything to do with the Twin Towers attacks. And now no one wants to admit we lost the Iraq War years ago, nor that the thousands of our soldiers who lost their lives or limbs in Iraq were sacrificed needlessly. Once again, people are convinced that more blood and money will make their fantasy of victory in Iraq come true. How many more wars will it take for Americans to finally accept the truth that war is not the answer?

David Quintero, Monrovia

 

I E C N, Community Leaders & Water Industry Leaders are all getting behind Melody Henriques McDonald for SBVMWD Water Board

SBVMWD voters who care about controlling cost and tempering rate increases should back Melody Henriques McDonald for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Director Division 3

Melody is responsible for residents of the San Bernardino Valley having the most affordable water in her 23 years of water leadership at the SBVWCD and is committed to making sure our families and our businesses have the water they need to thrive that support a healthy economy.

We have no doubt Melody will be successful in keeping San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water Districts rates in line as well. Keeping all our citizens, specifically our Seniors who are on fixed incomes water rates low is top priority as is working to see our property values don’t decline.

Melody Henriques McDonald is our voice for job creation and supports projects that will bring in over 600,000 new jobs to a State that is suffering because of this drought. Melody has the endorsements of our San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, and our Committee on Political Education (COPE).

Importantly, Melody’s experience will help her navigate SBVMWD through these unprecedented times of drought.

Melody has endorsements of her fellow community members and water leaders all over this region.

Margaret Hill, Member, San Bernardino City Unified School District Board of Trustees. “Melody I know where you stand on our water issues facing us today and you are clearly the most experienced,” says Dr. Hill. Dr. Hill joins a long list of respected community leaders from across the region who are endorsing Melody.

Dr. Rob Zinn, Senior Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland says “Melody I know you will speak truth to us about water”.

We’re supporting Melody Henriques McDonald for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Div 3.

 

Betty Gosney, President Board of Directors West Valley Water District, Bloomington

Alan Dyer, Board Member West Valley Water District & President Kiwanis, Rialto

Richard Corneille, President San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, Redlands

Skip Wilson, Past President East Valley Water District, Highland

For more information on Melody, water in California, and a complete list of endorsements visit:

www.MelodyMcDonald.com   call Melody @ (909) 499-5175 or email Melody4Water@gmail.com

 

Vote Summer Zamora Jorrin, District 2

Along with my family, friends, and neighbors, I am voting for Summer Zamora Jorrin as our next District 2 council member and I urge everyone to join us. I like that she is a younger candidate and has the energy to be a responsive and active council member. As a lifelong resident, I feel our city needs new people in office and not the same elected officials that have already served for decades. In order to move our city on the right path and progress we need fresh faces and different ideas. The fact that she personally knocked on our door to introduce herself and answer our questions is encouraging to me. Usually we are only left information by campaign workers and never meet the candidate directly, but I’ve frequently seen her walking in our district and talking to residents for weeks. Finally, I was encouraged to learn that she has been endorsed by Colton’s General Unit Employees, the Colton Fire Association and the Sun Newspaper’s Editorial Board. This makes me even more confident that I will make the best choice to represent my family when I vote to elect Summer Zamora Jorrin for City Council District 2.

Nicole Ramirez, Lifelong Colton Resident

Voting for Baca and Hirtz

Deeds and actions speak louder than words, therefore I am “Voting for Councilmembers Lynn Hirtz and Joe Baca, Jr. . They both have character, integrity and a total commitment to the Residents and the City of Rialto. They also have the endorsement and support of the Rialto Police Benefit Assn. and the Rialto Firefighters. For the first time in years we have a Valid City Balanced Budget. Lynn is an experienced business woman, and with her husband Dan they have had a successful Lawnmower center for 44 years in Rialto. Joe is a Rialto native and family man. He is a Rialto High School teacher and involved with all the sports activities and a coach. He helped to start the Rialto Sports Hall of Fame. They both attend and participate at the events in Rialto. Let us vote on November 4 and elect Lynn and Joe, so our City can continue going forward in our quest for a stronger Rialto.

Greta Hodges Rialto, CA

Vote wisely in Colton on November 4

So Mr. Gonzales wants us to believe his campaign statements when he says he “Abolished the utility tax”. Sorry, NOT TRUE! Gonzales was not even on the council when that happened. In fact, his opponent for mayor, Mr. DeLaRosa, cast the deciding vote to kill this tax when he was sitting on the Council. “Return financial stability”, again I don’t believe that to be true. How can it be when Mr. Gonzales just voted for the current budget with a $1.8 MILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT! Doesn’t sound like financial stability to me! Then he states “Lowered utility rates 10%”. Add all the reductions that have occurred since Mr. Gonzales has been on the council and you get about 5.6% reduction for some, higher rates for others. Not such a good deal. And he failed to mention that he voted to approve additional pass through money from the electric department to the city to spend as it pleased. This money if left in the electric dept. could have resulted in lower rates for everyone! Last, I have taken a close look at who has contributed money to Mr. Gonzales campaign. Very little has come from local residents, but tens of thousands of dollars from outside, special interests. Most distressing of all is the $10,000.00 plus he has received from several Los Angeles area companies who is managed and/or governed by Allan Steward who was convicted along with several other then current or past Colton Mayors or Council Members for bribery. Why is Mr. Gonzales now accepting large amounts of money from this persons companies? We don’t need any more scandals in Colton. And didn’t Mr. Gonzales ever learn that you are judged by the company you keep? Doesn’t look very good from my point of view! Misleading statements and questionable money contributions. Colton does not need to take chances on its future. Please vote wisely on November 04, 2014.

Steven Cade Colton, Ca

The Heart and Soul Mayoral Race of Colton

Two hometown candidates are putting fourth every effort to win the 2014 Colton mayoral election. Both have great experience and knowledge of Colton politics. These two candidates bring forth their ideas for Colton’s future, some new and some old. Candidate De La Rosa, age 50, and candidate Gonzalez, age79, are not going to see things eye to eye, and for the better of the community the right candidate must be elected for the job. We need growth, fresh ideas, and old-issues resolved, Councilman Gonzales speaks of having the power, but doesn’t place his statement on any specific agenda for the good of the city. Candidate De La Rosa continually puts forth the statement that he works for the people of Colton “the residents”, listening to and acting upon their needs and concerns. Both candidates have 12 years plus direct involvement in Colton politics. However, we need a candidate with an impact on Colton’s needs. We don’t need a “GODFATHER”, we need a mayor that listens and that’s not intimidating. We need one that takes orders, not gives them. We need someone who will ask, listen and act with a sincere heart, not consumed by just having the “POWER”. Which of these candidates will do this for our community, our City? Which one clearly has the vitality, wisdom, and sincere leadership to do the job for the people? So I ask my community of 68 years to pull together and make the choice on November 4, 2014. Our youth are counting on us to responsibly choose the right candidate so that our city can grow in a positive direction, persevere, and create a solid foundation for their future!

Carmelita Gonzalez, Lifelong Colton Resident

“who is who” – for the Mayor of Colton

Five prominent advocate council members and the current mayor of Colton all support, endorse and back-up candidate Richard De La Rosa in the 2014 mayoral election. They feel that Richard is the man for the job. With only two weeks left until Election Day it is vital to know who your candidates really are. For instance, in the October 16th issue of a local newspaper, Frank Gonzales is quoted stating “it’s totally wrong, making allegations that are totally false.” He stated this regarding the wrong doing of misappropriation of public funds, which he was allegedly accused of. Mr. Gonzales being hypocritical did the same thing to candidate Richard De La Rosa regarding a meeting that took place at Denny’s restaurant in Colton back in July of 2013. Mr. Gonzales wrongfully accuses candidate Richard De La Rosa of being a part of “…a deliberate conspiracy on their part to try and hurt my campaign, period, because I wouldn’t go along with their conspiracy to get the votes.” However this meeting consisted of members of the Colton City Council, residents, business owners, and not only the individuals of Colton First who always have great concerns for the city of Colton. This meeting was brought together due to the concerns for the cities progress and the upcoming mayoral election. It took place to find out where we stood as collective and concerned individuals for the betterment of the city and its future. At the end of the meeting Mr. Gonzales was visually upset because of the request of the city council and other attendees of the meeting encouraging him to remain running for his district, which would therefore bring, for the first time in history, a fully united city council with the mayor being a unanimous choice and that mayor being candidate Richard De La Rosa. Mr. Gonzales angrily blurted out, verbatim ” No, I want the power!” His mind was made up and his decision was made with no concerns over the fact that if he were to win, it would be without the support of the entire city council. There is no truth to any conspiracy or that candidate De La Rosa has anything to do with Colton First. Candidate De La Rosa does not need anyone but the residents of Colton to base his decisions on. Candidate De La Rosa has proven to be fair, direct, and a man of integrity, a twelve-year veteran of Colton politics with a track record of progress. Running for mayor is a huge undertaking, which requires deep forethought with joining forces. At the end of the day those forces turned out to be five members of the city council and the current mayor in full support of candidate Richard De La Rosa. Frank Gonzales was a decent mayor but not a powerful one. Colton NEEDS strength, intense activity and a fresh, new out-look with resolution to the existing prevalent issues within the city. Candidate De La Rosa can resolve issues and give the driving force the city needs. Do your homework and make our Colton a town to be proud of. Choose the right candidate to make a difference.

Mrs. Henoveva Guadalupe Colton, CA

Fall: It’s all about Oktoberfest and haunts

Yazmin Alvarez

It’s the middle of October and you’re thinking, what’s there to do?

Well, have I got the answer for you.

I’m going to keep it simple:

Oktoberfest at the Fairplex in Pomona ;The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor and Knott’s Scary Farm.

First, let’s talk beer.

Oktoberfest at the Fairplex is far from the bro-filled beer-fest these events are usually tapped with. Of course, you have your usual annoying few, but overall this was just a huge Bavarian music, German food and chicken dance filled good time.

Muscle up to chug down the crisp Oktoberfest brew and take your chances at the stein holding competition for both men and women.Not as easy at it looks – trust.

Now moving on to the scary. The, “I should have brought a change of pants” kind of scary.

I’m talking about the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor.

Let me just be honest here. I had fear tears in one of the mazes. I was genuinely freaked. Yea sure, I’m a chicken but this was a different kind of scared. Like, I felt uneasy scared.

Good, right?

There are three mazes that actually take place on the ship which, explains my uneasiness. And I’m only going to talk about one. The one that gave me the gut feeling to vomit because it scared my pants off.

That’s “B340.”

This maze takes you through the bowels of the haunted ship. You literally get the smell of horror. You walk through hallways of loose body parts and end up in the bloodied room of Samuel the Savage and a half-eaten body. Doesn’t sound too creepy, right? Well, I think all the legends and haunts that come with the ship itself offer up a good scare.

Knott’s.

With a few brand new mazes like Voodoo and The Tooth Fairy and the much talked about Special Ops: Infected Zombie shooting experience along with some favorites like the return of Elvira – the legendary Mistress of the Dark.

First, shooting zombies.

You get to arm yourself with specially designed laser guns to hunt zombies throughout six-acres of the park. You get paired up in a group, and are led by a Squad Leader – a loud mouthed, take-no-prisoners commander charged with turning you into a soldier. But don’t take your time here, you’re on the clock and screaming, dragging their body zombies are after you. It’s lazer tag on roids basically.

Now the new mazes.

Voodoo: Trudge cautiously through the cursed swamps of the Deep South and some bloody sacrifices and demons curss. In this maze, you create your own path.

Instead of making your way through narrow pathways, you’re dumped into a southern swamp with forks in the road that lead you to voodoo rituals and other experiences.

A tip: start the night here. By the time the park was closing the line was still wrapped around.

The Tooth Fairy: Yes, exactly what it sounds like but this tooth fairy is a deranged dentist.

Some special effects in this maze include a blackout room where you have to feel your way out and then you’re guided by a disorienting x-ray strobe light room. If you’re afraid of the dentist, well, here’s your chance to face your fears and say, “aahhh.”

Now for Elvira. In her new show she becomes the Ring-Mistress of the Park as she hosts a circus carnival of macabre freaks and sinister side show acts. This show is not for those with a sensitive stomach. Balloons in places, humans bending in ways and swords… long sharp swords being ingested. Suk it up and check it out, it’s worth it.

Oktoberfest at the Fairplex: Friday-Sunday now through Oct. 26. Ticket info: www.oktoberfestatfairplex.com

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor: Now through Oct. 2. Ticket info: www.queenmary.com

Knott’s Scary Farm: Now through Nov. 1. Ticket info: www.knotts.com

 

Vote Yes on Measures Q and R

Recently San Bernardino votes received the flyer from the “Citizens Against Measure Q,” paid for by the San Bernardino City Firefighters’ Union PAC. This document is filled with untruths and innuendos that need to be clarified. One glaring example is that Wildwood Park and the controversial plans for it have NOTHING to do with Measure Q. Measures Q and R were put on the ballot after lengthy discussion by a citizens committee appointed to analyze the 46-page San Bernardino City Charter, and to recommend changes that would begin to make a difference in the financial hemorrhaging of our city. Both of the measures which were eventually put on the ballot by the City Council have financial implications. Measure Q would replace the provisions of Section 186 of the City Charter with language providing for salaries of safety personnel to be set by collective bargaining, as are the salaries of all other city employees. Why should one group of employees have the advantage of automatic salary adjustments? All other city employees, such as those who work in the offices, the streets, the libraries and the parks negotiate through their unions for changes in their salaries. As most of us know, that is what collective bargaining is all about. It is unfair for safety employees to have the special privileges that Section 186 provides them. Section 186 is unusual in its specificity giving actual steps, classifications and salary schedules. No other city, including those which are used by the safety unions to establish average salaries as required by 186, has such specificity in its charter—in all cases, the salaries are negotiated through collective bargaining. San Bernardino cannot afford Section 186, which ties the hands of those we elect to provide services of all kinds for the citizens of the city. As an example, Section 186 has resulted through the years in exorbitant salaries for our firefighters. The top 40% make an average of $190,000 per year; the next 40% make an average of $166,000 per year. We must begin to get our city through bankruptcy and on the road to providing the services that are expected of an “All-America” city. Vote yes on Measures Q and R.

Dorothy Garcia, San Bernardino

Regurgitated City Elections

As Election Day, November 4th quickly approaches, the campaign signs come out. Not to my surprise, we see the regurgitated names of individuals running for council positions that they either currently hold, have held in the past. Current and ex council members are now running for Mayor, (DeLaRosa, and Gonzalez). District representatives that are going unopposed as if they’ve done such an outstanding job in this city that no one could match their performance, (Toro)……really? It’s no wonder this city continues down the same pathetic path year after year. How can anyone expect the status quo to change if we continue putting the same people in office that contributed to the cities decline in the first place? Budget inconsistencies, going through city managers like a revolving door, no accountability and exorbitant electric rates have become common place along with a declining downtown area with multiple vacant businesses with blank signs seen from the freeway. Nothing will ever change unless we bring new faces, new blood and fresh ideas into the council seats. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening any time soon. Colton will wake up November 5th to the same old same old. Well, at least the city will save money by not having to purchase new name plates for the council seats. Hey Citizens for Colton First, you clearly made your voice heard in support of the Mayor Chastain recall attempt and eventual election loss. Where are your voices now? Satisfied with the status quo?

Gary B. Leibelt Colton

Please join me and VOTE YES ON PROPOSITIONS ” Q” and ” R”

San Bernardino’s City Charter needs to be simplified. Reduce it from 45 pages to a more reasonable 10 or 12. The Charter should be easy to Understand, yet allow enough flexibility that future generations can adjust for the needs of their times. Proposition Q will change Section 186. Section 186 mandates police and firefighter salaries to be the average of 10 like-sized cities. San Bernardino does not have the wealth of 10 Jike-sized cities. Average household income for citizens of SB is $40,000, far below that of the other ten cities. San Bernardino is also in bankruptcy. IF Section 186 were changed, police and fire pay will be set by collective bargaining, as is done for other city employees. This would allow City Management an opportunity to exercise good judgment over a significant portion of the budget. Safety employees currently take approximately 70% of the budget. This leaves very little for streetlights, pothole repair, parks and other city services. Why are the safety unions fearful of periodic collective bargaining? Proposition R would remove Section 254, the requirement that terminated employees continue to be paid until they have an opportunity for the Civil Service Board to hear an appeal. Terminated employees can still recoup lost wages IF they convince the Board they were wrongfully terminated. (If the employee was not wrongfully terminated, the City has given away money it can never recoup.) I again urge you to VOTE YES ON PROPOSITIONS Q AND R. Our future and the tate of this City may depend on it.

Thank you, Linda, Daniels San Bernardino

San Bernardino city should be more open to the arts

By Anthony Victoria

Gloomy San Bernardino. Where is the love?

The love for art, I mean. Art is most likely not on the city council’s priority list, considering that they are up against a bankruptcy and two giant public employee unions at the moment. However as a resident and fervent supporter of the arts, I encourage some of our councilmembers and Mayor to put more attention into creating an art culture for our city’s youth.

In a modern society where activities like reading and writing are no longer commonplace for youth, it is important we look for alternatives to help stimulate their minds. It can help community leaders instill a sense of pride among the city’s most troubled youth.

One form of art that is always frowned upon by the public is graffiti due to it being so closely associated with gang culture. That may be a huge issue as we move forward into our post-bankruptcy stage. When a person is so adamant that this form of art brings nothing but negativity, it eliminates any hope of free expression.

Imagine the different murals that can be created that highlight the city’s historic contributions. I think it’s time we see a little color in downtown. Our city leaders have a vision that entails having a great commercial hub in the heart of our city. What difference will it make if no one is there to experience it?

Realistically, beside the sporadic murals that have been painted at community centers and at Perris Hill Park by local community organizers, there is nothing happening that helps attract young artists to San Bernardino. Many travel to Redlands and Riverside to enjoy their art walks, and some may indulge in mural projects in other far-away locations.

If you visit cities like New York, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, you will notice colorful, vibrant murals that depict the rich culture that thrive in those communities.

For example, Chicano Park, which is located in the Logan Heights community in San Diego, is christened with murals and other memorabilia that commemorates Mexican-American (or Chicano) culture. In fact, the park also has sculptures, earthworks, and an architectural piece dedicated to the community’s cultural heritage.

In San Bernardino, where many migrants from diverse backgrounds settled to work in the rail yards of the Santa Fe and Union Pacific, work in the orange groves, the home of the first McDonald’s restaurant and where many young adults rode in their top-down cars through Mt. Vernon into Route 66, there is nothing of that kind. The closest thing to it is the 1977 All-America City mural that residents see as they are speeding down the E. St. corridor in the city’s north end.

It’s important that we take the time to celebrate our community’s accomplishments, and what better way to do that by allowing artists to showcase their talents. Some of these walls, like our city, are like blank canvases. If we are to become a great big hub for business development, we should also embrace the artists who can provide us with a little joy through the power of art.

The San Bernardino Art Commission is holding a meeting on Tuesday October 14 at 4PM at City Hall. If you are a fervent supporter of the arts like myself, I encourage you to speak out.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at avictoria@iecn.com or at (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Breaking All the Records

Most of us have just begun to notice the lawn signs and radio ads for candidates this campaign season. Despite the fact that many of us are only beginning to realize we’re in the middle of campaign season, it was recently noted that outside spending is already at the highest rate of any midterm election ever. I’m sure we will continue to see more ads as Election Day nears. More attacks from the left and the right, and from wealthy interest groups . My question is: Are we better off with this much money? Is the debate more intelligent? Is there more information out there? Is our democracy better off? I would argue we’re not, on any account. Instead, we’re paying a price as corporate interests and wealthy individuals shape the debate, decide what our elections are about, and dictate who our politicians actually work for. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/outside-spending-eclipses-past-midterms/

Jeff Green

PWAP Field Organizer

Support those who care about San Bernardino

With all the negativity in San Bernardino, there is still hope. There are many residents and business owners who make that extra effort to do the positive. Tony Canul and his family own Molly’s Cafe on Court and D streets. It is not just a place that has superior food and great service, but a meeting place for business people and residents. Tony has donated a lot of money to help the Route 66 Rendevous, juvenile diabetes car shows, Veterans Day parade and many others. It’s also great to see the American flag hanging out front every morning. There are others, like Albert Okura, owner of Juan Pollo and the Original McDonald’s Museum on 14th and E streets, who, with help of Danny Castro every year puts on the Veterans Day parade car show, and honors every veteran there. Also, Steve Shaw, Allen Bone, Nick Cataldo, John Weeks and all the people who volunteer with the San Bernardino Historical Society and Santa Fe Depot Museum. No forgetting all the police, firefighters and doctors. Please help in any way to support those who are making the extra effort to help and care about San Bernardino.

Steve Portias, San Bernardino

Route 66 event not a money-maker?

I recently read where a Route 66 event gave the city of Ontario a $22 million boost to its economy. The event drew more than 70 vendors, and over 200,000 people attended. Why, then, when Route 66 Rendezvous was here in the San Bernardino area, didn’t we ever know how much the city took in from this event? Where did the money go? Into whose pocket? You can’t tell me that the city of San Bernardino didn’t make money. Let’s get real. Why didn’t the city post how much was made each year?

Norma Nash, San Bernardino

Raise rates, but don’t add to state’s bureaucracy

We know that increasing the price of water will reduce usage, so it makes sense to increase water rates. But creating a bureaucracy to collect data to decide how much water to allocate to individuals is not only intrusive, it’s also fraught with unintended consequences and it’s unfair. All equally numbered households are not alike in necessary water usage. Some individuals work out of their home, some travel a lot and are rarely home. Some families have lots of overnight company, others have none. Some grandparents take care of grandchildren during the day, some don’t. Some people have second homes or travel a lot, some are home all year. Some have special medical needs, others shower daily at the gym. There will always be special circumstances. Do we really want a growing intrusive water bureaucracy to handle all the circumstances? The best way is the simplest: Raise the rates evenly. When they get high enough, technology will find a way to supply all the water we need.

Patricia Bourdeau, Pasadena 

Make same rules for all

This is the greatest con upon the people of California yet. Money counts — lots of it. Check out your neighbors. Do you see them cutting down on water? How about the city, county, state? Parks, golf courses, schools all need to have water controlled. Like everything else, those with the most dollars have the power, but the true needed dollars come from those who can least afford it. The laws regarding water use in this state need to be implemented and enforced. You could be liable for fines of up to $500 a day for going against those new restrictions. Yet a fine of $500 means nothing to many users. I’m all for following a law. However, there must be a law to follow. I’m willing to have all my lawns die to conserve water until we get normal rainfall, but so must all my neighbors and the city and state.

Bill Noyes, Walnut

B.Y.O.B – California bans plastic bags

By Yazmin Alvarez

Headed to the grocery store?

Pack your bags.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores in a move to cut down on litter damaging to the environment.

“This bill is a step in the right direction — it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a signing statement. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

Under SB270, plastic bags will no longer be offered for free at checkout counters at large grocery stores and supermarkets such as Wal-Mart and Target along with pharmacies starting July 2015. It allows grocers to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for reusable plastic bags or recycled paper bags.

Eventually, bags will be phased out at convenience stores and liquor stores in 2016.

The law, however, does not apply to plastic bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats, or to non-food retailers such as clothing and electronics shops.
SB270 also limits how grocers can spend the proceeds from the charges and requires stores to provide free bags to people who are on public assistance, according to a news release issued by the Office of the Governor.

The legislation, authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), will also provide up to $2 million in competitive loans – administered by CalRecycle – to businesses transitioning to the manufacture of reusable bags, the statement said.

The bill’s author Sen. Alex Padilla says existing bans show that consumers quickly adapt and that the paper bag fees will not be very lucrative for grocers. Though California may be the first state to ban plastic bags, more than 100 cities and counties –including Los Angeles and San Francisco– already have bans in place.

Because of these existing bans, consumers will be quick to adapt to the new legislation, said Padilla in the statement.
While the new law is an effort to reduce the stream of plastic film that winds up in waterways and landfills from the bags, it does not come welcome by bag manufacturers.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance, a coalition of plastic bag manufacturers, says it will seek a voter referendum to overturn California’s law. The group has three months to gather more than 500,000 valid signatures, the number needed to place a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. The group says it will push to make sure the law does not take effect until voters have a say.

“It would jeopardize thousands of California manufacturing jobs, hurt the environment, and fleece consumers for billions so grocery store shareholders and their union partners can line their pockets,” the American Progressive Bag Alliance said in a statement.

For those concerned with being charged the 10 cent fee for a paper or plastic bag, the solution is simple: Bring your own reusable bag.
The other option is to bring a backpack or box while shopping, a similar solution wholesale stores offer at checkout.

SB270 at a glance:

•Plastic bags are only banned at check-outs at grocery stores, pharmacies and supermarkets including Target and Walmart.
•The ban does not apply to non-food shops like clothing and electronics stores.
•The ban does not apply to plastic bags used for produce and meats.
•The new law will take effect July 2015.
•The ban will expand to smaller businesses such as convenience stores and liquor stores in 2016.

Tank farm tax will generate revenue for city of Rialto

As a resident of Rialto for 25 years, I’ve witnessed and appreciated the difficulty the city has faced in managing its finances in recent years. The recession was brutal. The loss of state redevelopment funding did not help, either. It’s why last year I voted to support an extension of our utility-users tax, even though I certainly could have used the money myself. It’s a sacrifice a community is willing to make to maintain the level of services we have come to expect of our city.

Now it’s time for the billion-dollar oil and gas companies that use our tank farm in Rialto to pay their share.

Measure U, the tank farm tax, will generate $10 million a year for the city, lower our utility taxes by 2 percent and provide us with the economic wherewithal we need as a city to move forward. I love Rialto. I believe in its future. Join with me. Vote yes on U.

Judy Roberts
Rialto

Deal with crime in SB at ground level

Seems that “law” means nothing any longer, especially in San Bernardino.

Two months ago San Bernardino said it would make a stand to displace the homeless who are sleeping on business porches, sidewalks, parked cars and old trailers on the streets. That lasted two days at the most. Every morning the restaurant I go to has to argue with these folks sleeping in the patrons’ chairs and on the porch before they open up their doors.

Then we said any transient caught stealing a $350 shopping cart from retail stores to wheel around their belongings would be dealt with. Seems nothing has happened. Wonder what would happen if I walked into a grocery store and walked out with $350 in steaks?

Crime in San Bernardino needs to start being dealt with at the ground level. The number of those thinking they can do whatever they want with no repercussion is out of hand and has turned San Bernardino into a cesspool.

Steve Portias 
San Bernardino

Debt an unnecessary disaster

In the story of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin,” a swarm of rats were enchanted by the beautiful sound of a piper and followed him out of town to drown in the ocean. When the mayor refused to pay the agreed upon fee, the piper repeated the process but this time with the town’s children. An unnecessary disaster based upon greed.

Today, that sweet sound is the pitch of the GOP with their “no taxes” tune. Let’s look at some of those Republican governors. In 2011, Texas was in a $27 billion crisis. It has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation. Texas is 49th in school spending. Texas’ unemployment rate is higher than the national average.

Other GOP governors: New Jersey’s Chris Christie has a gaping shortfall in the budget of $2 billion. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded seven times. Where will the money come from?

Meanwhile, Kansas (Gov. Sam Brownback) is drowning in debt and the schools are failing. The people are suffering so much that Republicans are voting against him in November.

North Carolina (Gov. Pat McCrory) is currently $300 million in debt. They are projected to reach a half-billion dollars of indebtedness next year when tax cuts go into effect.

There are more failed trickle-down GOP governors, but space prohibits their mention. Business follows the no taxes tune and the people end up drowning in debt. An unnecessary disaster based upon greed.

Felix Sepulveda
San Bernardino

Aguilar will get the job done

Getting a college education isn’t just an important milestone or something we do to make ourselves more well-rounded. It’s a necessity in today’s economy to get a good paying job to support yourself. And if you’re like myself, and the millions of college-aged Americans who are looking for grants and taking out loans, it can be expensive — sometimes prohibitively so.

Paying off my student loans is a constant worry for me. It’s scary to think that even now, while I’m still in school, my loans are gaining interest and my fees will be much larger once I graduate. And if I need a graduate education for the job I want, that just means even more student loans and more debt.

Making sure that college is accessible and student loans affordable needs to be a priority for politicians.

In choosing my next congressman, I trust Pete Aguilar to stand up for students and support his plan to reform our education system. He is the only candidate who I hear talking about this issue. He is the only one who will fight for me in Congress.

Chelsea Glynn
Redlands

California State University is right for standing up for victims of sexual violence

Anthony Victoria

College is a time for adolescents and young adults to venture into a world that’s filled with the dynamism of our nation’s future leaders. However, the college experience can also be a stressful time, a difficult time, especially for those who are and have been victims of sexual violence. California could become the national model to stem such conflict. The California State University– the largest in the United States – announced on September 23 that it will appoint advocates for victims of sexual assault on all 23 of its campuses and I believe it is a step in the right direction. Our state’s top universities, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and USC are among numerous institutions around the nation who have been abysmal when dealing with sexual cases. As a result, the federal government is now conducting investigations at these campuses. The CSU’s decision to provide a support system couldn’t have came at a better time. One in five women are raped during their lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, with 40 percent of women reporting that the assaults occurred during their time in college. Imagine if your sister, your daughter, or your wife were to be a victim of rape in a place that is supposed to encourage diversity and integrity? But it’s not only limited to women. Men can be victims too. And when these people undergo so much vulnerability and struggle with self-conscious issues, it becomes difficult for them to report this to administration. Which is why it’s a wise move to bring in people who have empathy and the strength to support them in their time of need. By having a trained, designated victim advocate on campus, victims of sexual violence can learn about different options for reporting and learn about the various resources available in their community. The benefits may sound clear. However, there is a potential negative effect this decision could have if it’s not approached correctly. It’s important that these advocates stay firm and strong in their willingness to do the right thing. Administrative pressures can hinder progress that a victim undertakes due to the fear of retaliation, but it shouldn’t be an issue‒especially if you have public servants advocating for the same thing. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Susan Davis, who this summer authored a bill that would require all U.S. colleges and universities that receive federal funding to enact similar measures, praised the CSU in a press release and expressed that others should follow suit. “I hope this trend will continue on university campuses across the nation,” said Representative Davis in the statement. As U.S. president Barack Obama expressed last week through a new initiative, “It’s on Us”. It’s up to us to hold people accountable and not look the other way. Perhaps it is time that we become advocates ourselves and condemn these continuing acts of sexual violence and abuse.

Anthony Victoria is a community writer for the Inland Empire Community Newspaper Group and can be reached at avictoria@iecn.com or at (909) 381-9898 Ext. 208

Disappointed in Colton Councilmember

At the 16 Sept. 2014 Colton council meeting, during public comment, I was dismayed to hear some disparaging news about one of our council members. Colton’s representative at the Omni-Trans and IVDA meetings is Councilman Frank Gonzales. It was reported that the councilman was late in attending the last 12 of the 12 Omni-Trans meetings, being so late at one, that the meeting was adjourned as he arrived on July 10th. Checking the minutes of the last 12 meeting showed his being late was recorded, as required by the Brown Act. Receiving a $125.00 stipend for each meeting does not seem earned. His attendance records at the IVDA meetings are almost as bad. Four occasions he was on time but was late five times and was absent three times. In my opinion, this is an embarrassment to the city of Colton. He is supposed to represent the interests of Colton but can’t make it to meetings on time and in some cases not show at all. Councilman Gonzales should have been replaced, as our representative, a long time ago, by a council member who has more of an interest in his ancillary duties for the city.

Ronald H. Lawrence

Colton, Ca.

Vote yes on both San Bernardino measures

Why would a group, the vast majority of whom are not residents of San Bernardino, be spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours putting up signs all over town urging San Bernardino voters to reject Measure Q, a repeal of San Bernardino Charter section 186 which sets public safety pay. Do they care more about San Bernardino than their own towns? Do they have nothing better to do with their time and money than to meddle in San Bernardino politics? No, they are people trying to protect their personal financial interests in San Bernardino’s present Charter section 186. Vote yes on Measures Q and R to help San Bernardino deal with its terrible financial situation, get out of bankruptcy, and move forward with a more businesslike City Charter to becoming a more prosperous, efficient, modern city.

Lynda K. Savage,

San Bernardino

Actually, kids need to be spanked sometimes

What kind of world are we living in? My dad was as “real” a man as you could ever find. And yes, he did take a switch to my brother and me on occasion. We deserved it every time he did it. He didn’t “beat” us, but yes, he did leave some welts. I think we turned out pretty well. In my opinion, this country started going to hell when we stopped disciplining our kids. Give them a “time-out”? Give me a break. In 1953, my fifth-grade teacher had a paddle hanging beside her blackboard and she knew how to use it. Did we back-talk her? Absolutely not. We learned not to sass our parents and we respected our law-enforcement officers, too! Now you can be tossed in jail if you raise a hand against your child and they know it. Ask anyone who grew up in the 1940s or 1950s if children were better behaved then or now. Ask any teacher. Most children are out of hand and there’s no way we can stop it. We are not preparing them for life. If the letter writer never had to spank his kids, maybe he was blessed with some very angelic children. I wasn’t and most other people aren’t, either. All you have to do is walk through a jail or prison to see that. It wasn’t that way in the “good ol’ days.”

Redgie Snodgrass,

Redlands

Greed breeds unnecessary disasters

In the story of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin,” a swarm of rats were enchanted by the beautiful sound of a piper and followed him out of town to drown in the ocean. When the mayor refused to pay the agreed upon fee, the piper repeated the process but this time with the town’s children. An unnecessary disaster based upon greed. Today, that sweet sound is the pitch of the GOP with their “no taxes” tune. Let’s look at some of those Republican governors. In 2011, Texas was in a $27 billion crisis. It has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation. Texas is 49th in school spending. Texas’ unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Other GOP governors: New Jersey’s Chris Christie has a gaping shortfall in the budget of $2 billion. The state’s credit rating has been downgraded seven times. Where will the money come from? Meanwhile, Kansas (Gov. Sam Brownback) is drowning in debt and the schools are failing. The people are suffering so much that Republicans are voting against him in November. North Carolina (Gov. Pat McCrory) is currently $300 million in debt. They are projected to reach a half-billion dollars of indebtedness next year when tax cuts go into effect. There are more failed trickle-down GOP governors, but space prohibits their mention. Business follows the no taxes tune and the people end up drowning in debt. An unnecessary disaster based upon greed.

Felix Sepulveda,

San Bernardino

 

E-mail us your opinions, photos, announcements to iecn1@mac.com. Letters limited to 500 words www.iecn.com

One Comment

  1. SBVMWD voters who care about controlling cost and tempering rate increases should back Melody Henriques McDonald for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Director Division 3
    Melody is responsible for residents of the San Bernardino Valley having the most affordable water in her 23 years of water leadership at the SBVWCD and is committed to making sure our families and our businesses have the water they need to thrive that support a healthy economy.
    Melody will be successful in keeping San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water Districts rates in line. Keeping all our citizens specifically our Seniors on fixed incomes water rates low is top priority for her as is working to see our property values not decline in this drought.
    Melody Henriques McDonald is our voice for job creation and supports projects that will bring in over 600,000 new jobs to a State that is suffering because of this drought. Melody has the endorsements of our San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, San Bernardino/Riverside Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, and our Committee on Political Education (COPE).
    Importantly, Melody’s experience will help her navigate SBVMWD through these unprecedented times of drought.
    Melody has endorsements of her fellow community members and water leaders all over this region.
    Margaret Hill, Member, San Bernardino City Unified School District Board of Trustees. “Melody I know where you stand on our water issues facing us today and you are clearly the most experienced,” says Dr. Hill. Dr. Hill joins a long list of respected community leaders from across the region who are endorsing Melody.
    Dr. Rob Zinn, Senior Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland says “Melody I know you will speak truth to us about water”.
    We’re supporting Melody Henriques McDonald for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Div 3.
    Betty Gosney, President Board of Directors West Valley Water District, Bloomington
    Alan Dyer, Board Member West Valley Water District & President Kiwanis, Rialto
    Richard Corneille, President San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District, Redlands Skip Wilson, Past President East Valley Water District, Highland
    For more information on Melody, water in California, and a complete list of endorsements visit: http://www.MelodyMcDonald.com call Melody @ (909) 499-5175 or email Melody4Water@gmail.com

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